Paddington 2 review: Bearly heartfelt

A scene from Paddington 2

A scene from Paddington 2   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


England’s furry treasure travels from pages onto big screens for a charming second outing.

There’s a line that the CGI motion-captured Paddington (voice of Ben Whishaw) often repeats in the sequel to the 2014 film: ‘If we're kind and polite, the world will be right’. Cynics will scoff, but it encapsulates Paddington 2. The film is a heartfelt effort to inject a dash of goodness into the world and leave behind a kind message. I am happy to report, it works. Like its predecessor, the film’s sequel focuses on inclusion, tolerance and plain ol’ goodness is particularly apt in these polarised times, case in point Brexit.

Paddington 2
  • Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, and Hugh Grant
  • Director: Paul King
  • Storyline: Paddington has been falsely accused and imprisoned for stealing. The Browns and the young bear must clear his name and find the real thief.

Our beloved Peruvian bear was once an outsider, looking to belong somewhere, anywhere. Now in the second film, he’s settled into the good life with the Browns but there are still people like Mr Curry (Peter Capaldi) who think bears shouldn’t live in their neighbourhood at Windsor Gardens. Nonetheless, Paddington’s life has improved, for instance, instead of a regular toothbrush, he’s using an electric one to clean his pesky ear wax and teeth to blissful results. He’s got a family yes, but the young bear has also made several friends, from the forgetful Dr. Jafri (Sanjeev Bhaskar) to Miss Kitts (Jessica Hynes) the neighbourhood shop lady and a host of other good natured people.

As his aunt Lucy’s (voiced by Imelda Staunton) 100th birthday draws near, Paddington wants to give her a rare and valuable pop-up book of London. While the cuddly bear decides to take up odd jobs, including washing windows with his furry tushy (accompanied by equally adorable calypso music), the book is stolen. The culprit is the diabolical yesteryear actor Phoenix Buchanan (a deliciously multi-accented and malevolent Hugh Grant). Poor Paddington is wrongly imprisoned.

A scene from Paddington 2

A scene from Paddington 2   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


The premise of the film is ridiculously simple: the thief is ousted right at the start without resorting to rocket science. But the film’s charm lies in being easy: where orange marmalade can cure a hard-boiled criminal, Nuckles’ (Brendan Gleeson) bitterness or that a furry alley dog can make a wonderful ride for a young bear. Paddington 2 won’t just thrill a bright-eyed child, but is capable of warming the coldest cockles of any curmudgeon’s heart. Brace yourself to drown into every furrow of Paddington’s brow or feel the upward curve of your lips when the camera pans into his black nose that’s irresistibility tactile. Paddington can be himself, an anthropomorphic bear everyone loves and indulges, because he’s lifted by a brilliant cast. Everyone from Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville) and his wife (Sally Hawkins) to the antique shop owner Samuel Gruber (Jim Broadbent) and especially Grant play their parts with enough earnestness to make Paddington believable. Plus, there are a ton of cameos, from Absolutely Fabulous legend Joanna Lumley to Goodness Gracious Me’s Meera Syal.

Paddington 2 is sweet without being diabetic and endearing without being manipulative. Maybe we all can be a little less like Mr. Curry and more like Paddington.

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2019 8:11:59 AM |

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