Paddington 2 is very much a film for the now. It’s a film set in a happily diverse and multi-cultural city. It’s a film with a migrant as its lead. It’s a film that celebrates positivity and doing the right thing. It is, in many ways, a film designed to counter-act the snarly, judgemental, island-nation mentality that seems to have become the default-setting for many parts of the media. Let’s not over-egg things, though. It’s also a heart-warming, life-affirming and utterly, utterly charming film about the mis-adventures of everyone’s favourite bear: Paddington.
Designed as a sequel to Paul King’s (The Mighty Boosh) 20014 hit, this latest outing sees Paddington on a mission to buy his Aunt Lucy a birthday gift, with disastrous consequences. The film expands Paddington’s world considerably, exploring the impact the little bear has on those around him.
The London we find ourselves in is suitably mythologised. An anytime city where mobile phones don’t exist, but red phone boxes do, where ‘fat’ TVs sit alongside modern computers, and where the Shard dominates the skyline but everyone lives in Edwardian mews.
Hugh Grant proves himself a natural comedian with a self-depreciating performance that’s good enough to make you forgive every bit of foppish nonsense he’s previously appeared in. Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins are totally endearing as Mr and Mrs Brown. While Brendon Gleeson is laugh-out-loud as the convict cook Nuckles McGinty.
While Paddington 2 is very firmly a family film, it’s perhaps not one for the under fives. There’s quite a lot of story packed into the film’s 103 minutes – and it may be all a bit much for the little ones. But don’t let that put you off. This is a film that you should see – and take others to. It will make you laugh, make you cry, and send you back out into the world feeling much, much warmer.