Paddington is, obviously, a children’s film. When I went to see it there were six other people in the cinema, and four of them were definitely under twelve, but I do not care, because I loved this film. I realise it’s a bit strange to be advising students to go and see what is very definitely a children’s film, but that is what I’m doing. It is the perfect childhood nostalgia trip and an antidote to exam stress and the impending fear of post-Uni life in the real world. For 90 minutes you can veg out with your favourite flavour of popcorn, watch an animated bear in a duffle coat have adventures, and pretend to be eight years old and untroubled by adult life.
Every aspect of this film is wonderfully created – the animation is stunning: aerial shots of the Peruvian jungle are beautiful, and the finely observed details of Paddington’s facial expressions are fascinating and as cute as the John Lewis penguin. The cast are some of Britain’s favourite character actors including Peter Capaldi as the Brown family’s nosy neighbour and Julie Walters as their eccentric old housekeeper. The script is a perfectly pitched level of clean and genuinely funny comedy (particularly a Pythonesque sketch of an English explorer introducing Paddington’s Aunt and Uncle –talking bears, of course –to marmalade sandwiches) with warmth and sweetness.
The film is a world of Wes Anderson-esque yellow and childhood pastels, and feels like a love-letter to London. The climax in the Natural History Museum relies on it’s beautiful, Gothic setting and the film is punctuated by twinkling shots of the London skyline and soundtracked by a cheerful Son band singing anthems of London’s multicultural society, adding a nobly pro-immigration undertone to the film.
I suspect that this will become a childhood classic, one to curl up in front of every boxing day with a cup of tea. This film is genuine warmth and cheer, and a perfect release from winter blues. Sometimes an animated bear adorably voice by Ben Whishaw being adopted by Lord Grantham and his cute family is exactly what you need.
[Clare Patterson – @clurrpatterson]