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Paddington: The Best Family Film I’d Never Heard Of

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It’s not always easy to find a live-action movie that the whole family can enjoy together. Enter Paddington, a fun and well-done British film that’s based on the beloved children’s books. Here’s our review for Catholic families.

 

by Adrienne Thorne

 

Apparently, I missed hearing about the movie Paddington when it first came out in 2014. I’d never heard of it until we stumbled upon it on Netflix one day while looking for a family movie we could watch together with our toddler.

Now I usually assume, if I haven’t heard of a family-friendly movie but find it on Netflix, that’s it’s not going to be very good. Because there are plenty of poorly written, poorly acted, all-around-lame options available particularly in the family category. We pretty much expected this to be one of those but for some reason decided to give it a try anyway.

 

Definitely Not Lame

That’s a huge understatement. Because actually, it was surprisingly awesome.

We didn’t expect it to be legitimately funny, often hilarious. I certainly didn’t expect it to be well-done and compelling, but it was that as well, not to mention cute and a little heartwarming – and it’s really saying something that I thought it cute or heartwarming, considering that I tend to kind of hate anything with animals or “pets are so awesome” themes. But then, this is a bit different from your average animal movie.

 

Premise

Maybe you’re familiar with the Paddington Bear children’s books. I’ve never actually read them, but this movie is based loosely upon the books, not exactly a screen adaptation of any particular story they featured.

Instead, it’s a story of a young bear from Peru, with an interesting back-story about why he can speak English and loves marmalade. He sets out to England in search of a “proper home” for himself, and a random family ends up taking him in temporarily. Then follows some shenanigans as he adjusts to human life. And as the family attempts to track down an explorer that he once met, someone with a sinister purpose is also trying to track down the bear.

 

Morally Speaking …

It’s rated PG, and I would call it fairly clean, but there are a couple brief concerns:

Some kids might find some action and peril a little frightening, but nothing is too intense.

The movie has a brief reference to skinny dipping, and also a throwaway line from a younger brother to an older teenage sister about how she probably wouldn’t mind “bunking” with a particular guy in whom she is romantically interested.

And then there’s a scene in which the father dresses up as a cleaning woman in order to sneak in somewhere and look at some records with Paddington. There is a man who tries to flirt with the cross-dressed dad (thinking him actually a woman) and the scene does go on for a bit. It’s mostly just good fun and once upon a time would hardly be worth mentioning, but in our current cultural climate it could end up raising questions from some curious kids.

 

Overall

It’s fun and cute, and pretty clean. And in fact, it’s actually even good enough that I was willing to re-watch it with my toddler when we were searching for a good movie on Netflix the other night. I’m honestly not quite sure why I hadn’t heard of it, because it’s good enough that I would think it should be quite popular.

 

Check out the Catholic News Service Review of Paddington for more info.

Adrienne Thorne blogs at Thorne in the Flesh: A Faithful Catholic’s Guide to Netflix, Hulu, and More.

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Adrienne Thorne is a Catholic screenwriter and mother of two little boys. She blogs about TV and Movies, both good and bad, for kids and adults at thorneintheflesh.com.

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