Leon van Nierop
2 minute read
25 Dec 2014
7:00 pm

Movie review: Paddington Bear (trailer)

Leon van Nierop

The four-star rating may seem like an overestimation of the virtues of this children's film, especially as the cute, warm-hearted and naive bear is not as well known in this country as in England.

Pictures: Times Media Films

But it is so appealing and well directed that even if you’re scarcely aware of the bear’s existence you may find yourself leaving the cinema and entering the first toy store around to buy one of the bears. And not necessarily for the kids.

In short, the film is about a young bear that leaves the wilderness and finds himself at Paddington Station in London. His aunt sent him there and he now has to fend for himself after an earthquake hit his homeland. He is lucky enough to be taken in by a young boy whose strict father, a wonderful Hugh Bonneville, is not too keen on the bear. But once the animal, with Ben Whishaw’s voice, immerses himself in the household, he becomes part of the family.

And this is what Paddington Bear is about: family. Accepting someone even though others may feel uncomfortable with him. Add to that an evil woman (Nicole Kidman seems to enjoy every moment of her over-the-top performance) and the scene is set for a pleasurable and all-too-human story.

There are traces of Mary Poppins in this story about the saviour of a neglected family, although Sally Hawkins seems to cope quite well with holding the family together, because the bear brings them a new lease on life. He also brings with him warmth and, ironically, humanity.

Paddington Bear was a great surprise. Even if you’re not too familiar with the character and only know him as a huge and expensive fluffy toy in a department store, you might warm to him.

Paul King’s style is respectful, dedicated and warm. So the film may just creep into your heart and you might find yourself starting to read the books by Michael Bond, which it is based on.

This film is an utter joy.