After a particularly grueling week at work I found myself at the movie theatre looking for an escape and a quick distressing tool.
Initially I had planned to see another film - however, when I made it to the register to purchase the ticket - the fateul words "Paddington" came out of my mouth. It was a spur of the moment decision. My mind needed something sweet and light to focus on so it made a quick snap judgement.
With my ticket in hand, I made my way to the Dine-In Theatre room and settled in for... well I wasn't really sure what.
I had no real context for Paddington. I knew he was a bear... in a red hat. I knew he was an English icon. And I knew Lord Grantham from Downton Abbey was in the movie. Other than that I was clueless to what I was about to witness.
After 20 minutes of horribly bad children's movie trailers I was transfixed by the story of a sweet little bear and his lovely family.
Set in London, a little Bear and his adopted Family are living your average everyday life in a beautiful home with ornate wallpapers, funky quilts, blue kitchen cabinets, and a carousel horse on display. This home is serious #goals.
Paddington is a figure of the community, making neighbors happy, reminding them to grab their keys before their work commute, distributingmarmalade breakfast sandwiches, helping city workers prepare for exams, and just genuinely bringing joy to the residence of Windsor Gardens and beyond! (except for Dr. Who... he was a right old jerkizoid)
The story begins to show itself when we learn Paddington is on the search for the perfect gift for his beloved Aunt Lucy. In Gruber's, a local curiosity and antique shop, Paddington comes across a very unique and one of a kind "popping book" of London. The perfect gift for Aunt Lucy! Only one "snag!" The book costs around 1000 pounds! Paddington has to get to work!
He picks up odd jobs around the city but it seems his most lucrative position is that of window washer. After mastering how to properly wash a window, especially when the soap bucket weighs more than the little furry bear, he takes on the Shard! Now thats a lot of windows!
Paddington slowly but surely is making the money and is collecting it all in a very large jar!
Unfortunately, the bear's progress hits a major roadblock when the book is stolen and Paddington is accused of the crime. Sentenced to 10 years in prison... it seems all is lost for the young bear.
However, Paddington, being his positive and confident self, turns the prison on it's head and ... well ... long story short... The in-mates are wearing pink, eating the ever-famous marmalade sandwiches, making macaroons, jump-roping, and raising an embroidered sign stating "prison sweet prison!"
Oh. Also on top of all of this... There is a villain! Of course, Paddington is innocent of his accused crime. But who did it? Master of disguise (not really), Phoenix Buchanan. Buchanan is a narcissistic, deluded has-been, and former west-end star who is down on his luck, low on funds, and "a weirdo," who just happens to know a secret about the popping book!
We learn that the popping book holds clues all around London that will lead to treasure... #treasuremap!
Ok... ok.... I know this is too much detail. Especially when you could just wikipedia all this info so I will skip some.
Paddington escapes prison... The Brown's are wonderful... Paddington chases a railway car... Lord Grantham (Mr. Brown) does a full on split between two railway cars, Molly Weasley (Mrs. Bird) shoots a dart gun, and Buchanan is hit in the head with a coconut.
While most of the film is very light - hearted, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself completely invested in the goings-on of the screen. There were moments of actual laughing out loud, suspense, and yes... I even shed some tears (sad and happy). I was completely #shooketh by this movie.
I left feeling light hearted, inspired, and desperately wanting to see it again! I rushed home and immediately purchased the first film and devoured it! (twice)
I can't say enough how much everyone needs to see this movie and how it has achieved something quite impossible in cinema these days... Paddington is a truly magical and beautiful movie. Everything seems to fall into place and compliment each other. The story, the locations, the production design, costumes, color scheme, music, and performances... it all just works. There was nothing sticking out that was off-putting or didn't seem to belong! Also, something I was very impressed by was the film's willingness to push the standard boundaries and it's courage to get too "real" or too "heavy."
For example, there is a particularly distressing moment, after an intense show down between Paddington and Buchanan on a moving train, when a railway car is dislocated from the rest of the train and is shifted to an incomplete track. The car off-rails and plunges into a near-by, very deep body of water. Paddington is trapped inside! Mrs. Brown, Paddington adoptive guardian, with expert ability (she's been in training), dives in after the car and comes to the rescue. But... after undoing the deadbolt and shifting the train door open only slightly to reveal the doe eyes of the scared bear - we are disheartened to find a metal lock and chain keeping the door from opening any further. The two figures fight, pull, and try their best to wrench open the door. Their efforts are fruitless and looking resignedly looking at each other Paddington's little paw reaches out through the opening and Mrs. Brown takes it in hers. Hopeless. All there is left is the attempt of comforting each other in the face of the inevitable.
By this time there was just tears and tears pouring down my face. (This was Toy Story 3 caliber drama) And that's when I realized I love this movie!
So I won't spoil the ending. (I mean I spoiled everything else!)
But I advise you to take some time out of your busy schedule and hang out with one of the world's cutest bears! You won't be disappointed!