Paddington – In deepest Peru, an explorer finds some remarkable bears who learn English and just love marmalade. Many years later the bears’ nephew sets off to find a home in London thinking he will easily find someone happy to house him. Unfortunately Londoners aren’t quite as friendly as he was led to believe but he is eventually taken in by the kindly Mary and her reluctant family. Discovering what life among humans entails, Paddington finds a place of sorts to fit in but soon faces danger from a murderous taxidermist who is hell-bent on adding a certain Peruvian Bear to her collection.

Paddington (2014) – Director: Paul King

Is Paddington appropriate ok for kids?

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43626854

Rating: PG

Running Length: 95 mins

Starring: Ben Whishaw, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville

Genre: Comedy

‘PADDINGTON’ REVIEW

For over 50 years, Paddington Bear has been one of Britain’s most enduring children’s characters with his iconic hat, duffel coat, battered suitcase and love of Marmalade sandwiches. Surprisingly, his first big screen outing came in 2014 with the eponymously titled ‘Paddington’ which has brought the character bang up to date with a contemporary tale of an innocent soul trying to make a life for himself in the less-than-friendly world of London. Thankfully Paddington finds a kindred spirit in matriarch, Mary, a free-spirited illustrator who seems out-of-place in her family until the other members start to come round to Paddington’s endearing personality and we see who they really are without the constraints of self-consciousness or the fear of parental responsibility.

What could easily be a silly movie aimed purely at young kids has fortunately been handled with expert care and, despite being entirely entrenched in the childhoods of British kids, it is well-rounded enough and has lots of humour that all ages and nationalities can enjoy. Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is lovable and sympathetic, audiences can’t help but instantly warm to him, especially when his introduction includes tragedy. Mary (played by Sally Hawkins) is also instantly likeable but special mention must go to Hugh Bonneville who plays patriarch Henry, a straight-laced, neurotic father who loves and trusts his wife but doesn’t want to get involved in a strange, accident-prone bear. It is a shame that Mr Curry (Peter Capaldi) as a nosy neighbour and unwitting villain’s sidekick doesn’t receive a proper ending but this is only a minor quibble for an otherwise excellent family movie.

‘Paddington’ steps out from behind its rather dated origins and has created an entirely new ethos for itself but while it has made new fans in the younger generations, older viewers will enjoy the nostalgia of their beloved childhood character with a fresh tale of family, friendship and marmalade sandwiches.

CONTENT – IS ‘PADDINGTON’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The movie opens with the story of an explorer who goes into a jungle in Peru and decides its ‘time to collect a specimen for the museum’, at this he raises a rifle and points it at a bear in the middle-distance. Immediately, another bear appears behind him, he lowers the gun out of fear but the bears turn out to be friendly and the three become very close.

Several years later, the two bears are sole guardians of their young nephew, Paddington after his parents die (no additional details are given and Paddington has clearly come to terms with his loss). After a happy family scene, an earthquake hits their home. Paddington and his Aunt Lucy get to safety but Paddington sees his Uncle Pastuzo looking back at their home before a branch closes the gap and traps the two bears inside. The following day, Paddington and Lucy search through the devastation and find Pastuzo’s hat. They look down and become deeply upset and embrace. No body is seen but it is clear from Lucy and Paddington’s emotional state that they are fully aware of Pastuzo’s death. This is a little sad but not overly distressing.

During a comedy scene, Paddington visits a family bathroom to freshen up and finds items that he has never seen before and uses them wrongly. He pushes two toothbrushes into his ears, moves them around and pulls out a large amount of wax; he also gulps and drinks mouthwash, after a couple of seconds he breathes heavily, suffering from the harshness of the liquid. While these things may be silly, they could also be imitable for young children.

A boy teases his older, teenage sister by saying that the boy she has a crush on ‘would be more than welcome to a bunk up’. She reacts in shock and embarrassment and her mother innocently and happily asks who this boy is. Nothing more is mentioned and this is as strong as any innuendo gets.

The character of Millicent clearly takes great pride in her job as a taxidermist. Her walls are covered in dozens of stuffed animal heads and other trophies, she also wears various clothes made from animal fur and skin throughout the movie. She looks at a live monkey in a cage and revels in her plan to stuff it. She speaks to a man who is clearly just a minion to her. She unexpectedly slaps him, he mildly cries out in surprise and she quickly apologises to him.

A cab driver is held upside down and threatened by an imposing character. They initially refuse to talk but, when his captor threatens him by saying ‘I remove body parts. I start with the nasal hair’, the driver quickly begins to tell him everything he knows.

A man sneaks into a building, dressed (unconvincingly) as a woman. A character who has come with him says ‘you look very pretty’ to which the man replies ‘that’s what they’ll say in jail’. Another character later refers to him as a ‘sexy woman’.

At one point, Millicent manages to capture Paddington and, while he is incapacitated she prepares to stuff him and various nasty-looking knives are shown inside a case although none are actually used on him.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT – IS ‘PADDINGTON’ FOR KIDS?

The character of Paddington began over a generation ago, and kids of today could view it as old-fashioned so it is admirable that a movie has been made to not only keep the ethos of the original show but also breathes fresh air into it so that modern audiences can relate and thoroughly enjoy the eponymous bear’s antics. With the character of Millicent being relentless and unremorseful in her pursuit to kill and stuff animals, young children may be upset by this and therefore we feel this movie should be appropriate for most kids aged 6 and over.

  • Violence: 1/5
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5 (Paddington is initially upset by the loss of his Uncle and when he writes to his Aunt, there is a mild sense of sadness to him. Paddington is deeply disappointed that London isn’t the friendly place he thought it would be and, as he doesn’t like to impose on others, he often appears dejected)
  • Fear Factor: 1/5 (Millicent is a very threatening character and is often darkly lit. The climax of the film is quite tense, there is around 15 minutes of Paddington being in almost constant danger)
  • Sexual Content: 1/5 (a very small amount of mild innuendo)
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (one or two utterances of mild cursing and blasphemy)
  • Dialogue: 1/5 (Millicent gleefully talks about her plans to stuff animals which indicates just how evil she is, however this isn’t too strong and none of her plans to stuff animals ever come to fruition)
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of what makes a family, hospitality, feeling unwelcome, seeing the best in people, parenthood, teenage years, manipulation, doing the right thing, going against your nature to help someone in need.

Words by Laura Record

 

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