If you missed out on experiencing Paddington Bear as a kid, firstly; that’s a terrible shame, but most importantly; it’s not too late!
It’s been more than 50 years since author Michael Bond wrote his first book A Bear Called Paddington, introducing the intelligent and extremely curious bear from Darkest Peru who travels to London in search of a new life, bringing his worrying marmalade infatuation with him.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a preview screening of Paddington at The Barracks Palace Cinemas (Paddington) and I just couldn’t pass it up. The invite had invited myself, a guest and a teddy bear of our choice to a ‘teddy bear’s picnic’ prior to the film’s commencement, which in hindsight probably should have been my obvious signpost that it was to be a children focused prelude to the film.
My guest however was not a child, but my mother. She had insisted I take her after hearing of my invite and I couldn’t be happier to bring her along to share in the childhood nostalgia. She even brought a Paddington Bear in her handbag… that of which I wasn’t aware until she revealed it from her handbag on arrival at the cinema.
The cinema was packed, full of families, popcorn and echoes of quiet giggles of anticipation. The live-action adaptation of Paddington is a truly heartwarming family film, perfect for the holidays.
The film follows the culturally curious bear as he flees Darkest Peru in search of a better life and a new family, after an unfortunate set of circumstances at the start of the film. He journeys to London in search of a new start and finds himself in constant trouble, often unintentionally of his own making. All of which sent the cinema into roars of laughter each time, including my mother and I.
Paddington meets a British family who agree to temporarily house him until he finds a ‘proper home’, while in the meantime unknowingly he is being sought out by villainous museum director and taxidermist Millicent Clyde, played by Nicole Kidman. Despite the awful thought of that aspect of the storyline, it is played out appropriately, with only one ‘scary’ part of the film that has you on your seat for a moment before returning to its usual fun-loving pace.
The incorporation of an animated bear in human clothes, who always has a marmalade sandwich under his hat “for emergencies” within this live-action film is seamless and believable. It may be far from the jumpy VHS I remember watching as a kid, but the scenes, including the flooded bathroom scene, share the same visual and comedic spirit that I fondly remember.
The movie was absolutely lovely! It made me laugh, it had a nice family message and it reminded me of my childhood. I would watch it again in a heartbeat.
It’s definitely a 5 out of 5 marmalade sandwiches type of film!
Insight from my mother:
My mother’s earliest memory of Paddington was books at storytelling time while growing up in England. She describes Paddington as “A mischevious, loveable bear… really like any child really (laughs)”… she’s obviously referring to my other siblings on the mischievous part, right mum?
She says the film reignites childhood memories and brings Paddington back to life.
“I think it’s a film for all ages. Children will love it and there’s something for us big kids too. Paddington is like a big kid and we can all relate.
“I really loved it! I would definitely take the grandkids, no questions,” she says.