Paddington

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Director: Paul King

Cast: Ben Whishaw, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Peter Capaldi

Rating: ***

Length: 90 minutes

Opening: Now showing

Plot: A feel-good movie that follows the adventures of the talking bear from Darkest Peru who travels to London in search of a new home.

In the deep jungles of Darkest Peru, an explorer named Montgomery Clyde locates a family of semi-intelligent bears, whom he realises can learn English and have acquired an appetite for marmalade. Before he returns to London after the expedition, Clyde tells them they are always welcome in London. The bears, Lucy and Pastuzo, live in harmony with their nephew until an earthquake strikes the forest they live in. Pastuzo is killed, and Lucy encourages her nephew to look for a home, and take up Clyde’s invitation.

The young bear reaches London but fails to find a home. He finds the kind Mrs Brown (Hawkins) who convinces her husband (Bonneville) to give the bear a temporary home until he is able to find proper lodgings. She names him Paddington — the train station they found him at — as his bear name is hard to pronounce. Mr Brown is adamant that Paddington stays only one night, and to add to this Paddington manages to cause a series of accidents in the house which leads to the family, particularly Mr Brown to further shun him. Paddington believes he can find a home with Clyde who had found his family in Peru. The Browns then find out that Paddington’s hat, was in fact Clyde’s hat and a valuable artefact, and thus they take it to an antique store to locate Clyde.

On his quest to locate Clyde, Paddington’s innocence, unfamiliarity with the local London culture, and an accidental fire incident, causes Paddington to feel unwanted by the Browns.  And so he leaves and tries to locate Clyde himself. When he finally locates the house, he finds out how Clyde died many years ago, and it is revealed that Millicent (Kidman) — a taxidermist and museum curator is Clyde’s daughter — who holds bitterness against her father for failing to capture a specimen of the bears he claimed to have found. His act had also granted him disdain from the museum itself. The Browns’ neighbour, Curry (Capaldi), schemes with Millicent in the beginning but betrays her when discovering her true intentions and informs the Brown family of the events. They immediately rush to save Paddington.

In the end, the Browns adopt Paddington into their family, and Millicent is punished for her crimes.  Paddington writes to Aunt Lucy saying he is happy and has found a home at last.

The plot of the movie is predictable —  a family that leads a mundane life suddenly finds itself dealing with unprecedented situations that inevitably cause their life to change for the better. The point is, if you want to accept change or not. Also, Paddington is portrayed to be polite and has exquisite manners but the city folk do not pay him any attention until he meets the Browns. In my personal opinion, the underlying message of this film is also to be nice to one another regardless of where we come from.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 11, 2014.