Paddington: a still actual story

Photo Credit:
Paddington official website
Christmas is the time to spend with the family and a good occasion to go to the cinema with the children.
However, a movie for under-fifteen does not have to be a silly story, easy to understand, with just funny characters. As many adults already know, fairy tales and children’s stories may often turn into the most truthful – even if probably oversentimental - way to tell forgotten realities.

Paddington, directed by Paul King and written by the same along with Hamish McColl, is the film adaptation of the novels about Paddington the Bear by Michael Bond.
The movie is produced by David Heyman and distributed by StudioCanal
It has been released during Christmas holiday in most of the European country and it will cross the Atlantic in mid-January.

The film

Paddington (character voiced by Ben Whishaw) is the name of a young bear who loves marmalade and, despite his clumsy behaviour, finally finds his place in the chaotic but still welcoming London.

He lived in a civilized and humanized way – introduced years ago to Paddington’s uncles by a Londoner explorer, Montgomery Clyde (Tim Downie) –  in the darkest Peru. But an earthquake occurred and, with the loss of Pastuzo (with the voice of Michael Gambon) and with their home destroyed, aunt Lucy (whose voice is Imelda Staunton) encourages her nephew to leave and start a new life in the British capital city, while she will stay in the retirement home for old bear.

After the sea journey, the protagonist is carried in Paddington station, where he finally walks on the dreamed Londoner ground and seeks for someone who can host him.

Despite the libel “Please look after this bear. Thank you” and the typical good-manner phrases learned in English, the bear is not considered at all by the rushing commuters in the station. But, late in the evening, the Brown family approach him and try to help the little bear looking for assistance.
Mister Brown (Hugh Bonneville), the most reluctant to get in contact with the animal, at the end accept to host Paddington for just one night.

However, as the research for the explorer who his uncles had known seems to go on, the bear keeps staying in the house until the cruel Millicent (Nicole Kidman) – a taxidermist at the Natural History Museum – tries to kidnap him. She wants to stuff the bear and add him to the collection of exotic and rare animals, as well as revenge an unpleasant and inglorious past.

As the film goes on, the Browns risk everything for the sweet bear and the happy end against the villain is guaranteed.
Paddington statue in front of the National Gallery
Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti

A simple, emblematic, and cute bear

Paddington is often depicted wearing an old red hat and a duffle coat.

In 2008, a doodle celebrated the 50th year since the publication of the book A Bear Called Paddington in which the little animal first appeared.

Paddington statue in front of Harrods
Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti
Since that 13th October of the 1958, fourteen Paddington books have been published – of which, Love from Paddington, is the most recent title (2014) -, in many formats, and in forty languages across the world.

For the release of the movie, it has been launched the Paddington Trail: fifty different Paddington statues have been placed in London. From the 4th November to the 30th December 2014, indeed, visitors could follow the steps of the bear around the city.

Until the 7th January 2015, the statues will be auctioned to raise money for charity partners – the NSPCC and ActionMedical Research.

What we probably missed

It is not easy to live in a new, foreign, totally different country. Additionally, things got worse when the final destination is so different from what we imagined.

Paddington seems the story of today migrants, of the students who travel for international exchanges and work experiences abroad, of the dejected people who discover that their dreamland doesn’t exist.

Nevertheless, in a constantly changing reality, where it is difficult to feel accepted, a bear – a children’s story – reassures that everyone may find his place in London.
It is fundamental not to lose the hope: something unexpected may happen.

And just keep a marmalade sandwich in your hat, in case of emergency.