Movie Review: Paddington (2015)

imagePaul King’s British live action/animated comedy Paddington (A) is quite simply one of the most consistently satisfying family films ever made, following each instinct of visual whim and whimsy with clever and entertaining results. The film chronicles a polite young marmalade-obsessed bear’s journey from the jungles of Peru to the heart of modern-day London as he is taken in by a kindly family (charmingly headlined by Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville) and embarks on a series of madcap adventures. The art direction and production design are exquisite and would leave Wes Anderson slackjawed with its artisan detail. The family home rendered as a dollhouse, the city archives like a scene out of Brazil, the menacing Natural History Museum populated by juicy taxidermist villain (a delightful Nicole Kidman) and the colorful streets filled with antiquities and street music troubadours dot the movie with resplendent visuals which are a wonder to behold. There is also genuine menace in some of the action sequences and an affecting level of sentimentality that never crosses into preciousness. The crafty screenplay is full of double entendres and fun asides that deliver a droll and altogether unexpected joy that adults can appreciate as much as kids. It’s brisk, funny and memorable and joins films such as Babe, The Muppet Movie and Willy Wonka as family classics.