I think this might be the US poster for Paddington, but it suits my needs. we went to see Paddington as a family just before Christmas and this has been my first chance to write it up since.
Now regular readers will know that I have three (almost) teenage children; DP is 16 going on 17 and almost tired of hearing that song, JW is 14 and the Princess is a precocious 12. We watch all the superhero movies, love playing computer games and have a cool attitude to life in general. So when we were thinking about a family movie to see before Christmas you might have thought along the lines of The Hobbit, or a decent spy and action film.
Oh no. Not us. We knew from watching the trailer that we really wanted to see Paddington. I am a long-term Paddington fan, having read the books and watched the TV series countless times before the 6 o clock news as a child. I love the stories of the bear from Darkest Peru and his adopted family. I loved the whole duffle coat/hat look he rocked and everything connected to him. I had the bear (a thrifty copy, not an original) and the image of the bear on tins, bedding, allsorts. It's fair to say I'm a fangirl.
Most surprisingly my family turned out to be fans as well. We were the only family there without a child younger than 6 and we sat, surrounded by the sound of whispers and sweets being eaten. In a spy movie this might have been off putting but, accompanied as it was by lots of giggles and children's commentaries on the movie just made it more fun.
The film is beautifully made. I have to say that changing the voice from Colin Firth to Ben Whishaw is a winner; Ben has just the right tone of plaintive but not incapability to be a bear who would rather make things right by himself some days than ask for help. And the family are a lovely bunch. The way that Paddington works on them to get them to function together as a family (without actually trying to) is well portrayed, while the characters are well-presented as uptight father, boho mother, cool and distant daughter and too-wild-for-his-Dad son. The plot (a taxidermist wanting to 'get' Paddington as a specimen of a rare bear) runs along and there is just enough mild peril to keep children (and me!) on the edge of my seat. It was the little hints at immigration that I found touching. The soundtrack features a calypso band who appear on screen every so often, Mr Gruber is (of course) a jewish immigrant who came to the UK to find safety and other elements highlight the good that immigration has brought to Britain. I don't know how Paddington votes, but I'm prepared to think it's probably not Ukip.
And I love the visual images in the movie. The Brown's house is just what I want to live in. I WILL buy the video to watch again as soon as possible and jot down ideas to use this year and next in a house revamp I am planning. I could just imagine my crochet blankets and cosies fitting in just fine. Love it. Just love it.
(I wanted to put a still from the film here, but can't find the one I want. Will keep looking)
Would I recommend it to others? If you like London. or Paddington, or films that need no rudeness or nastiness (apart from the nasty Taxidermist) or you have children aged 12 or below then I'd say yes. And if you're in or near London, you can do a Paddington Trail. Next time we go, it's high on my list!