Starring Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins
Buried deep within a lot of childhoods, there lies a bear, a duffel coat and a predilection for marmalade. Generations of children have grown up with the tale of a stranger from ‘darkest’ Peru, who just so happens to be a bear, and who just so happens to be in need of a home, when he is found by the Brown family at Paddington Station. Paddington the film, therefore, had rather large red wellington boots to fill; in an age where nostalgia is king, this movie needed to remain faithful to people’s memories, yet simultaneously modern enough to capture the interest of a whole new set of little – and not-so-little – ones.
Luckily, Paul King’s sumptuous film does just that. Co-wrote and directed by King, best known for his work on The Mighty Boosh, Paddington may be lacking in the surrealism department but it is certainly overflowing when it comes to laughs, gorgeous cinematography and just the right amount of tweeness. We see our eponymous hero leave his Aunt and Uncle in Peru and wind up in London, where he meets our modern-day every-family, the Browns. Dad Henry, ably played by the ever-exasperated Hugh Bonneville, is of course dubious; whimsical Mum Mary (the perfect Sally Hawkins) is enchanted; whilst children Judy and Jonathan, (the fantastic Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin) are deliciously teenaged and refreshingly normal respectively. Paddington finds a temporary home with this odd little family, and chaos soon ensues; Mr Brown is desperate to find a certain Montgomery Clyde, an explorer who visited Paddington’s family in Peru, and who promised to look after them if they ever ventured to England. Thankfully for the plot, he may or may not exist.