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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Movie Review: Paddington 2

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It’s all about the suspension of disbelief when you’re watching a movie about a talking bear living with a family of humans in Notting Hill. Fortunately, this sequel to 2014’s adorable Paddington has that essential element in spades. Directed and co-written once more by Paul King, with the same cast in the central roles (Hugh Bonneville, the lovely Sally Hawkins, Samuel Joslin and Madeleine Harris), as well as Ben Whishaw voicing the bear, I had no compunction in choosing to see it instead of the eighth instalment of Star Wars (yawn). Paddington, who has brightened the lives of everybody at the Brown household as well as their neighbours in the cutesy Enid Blyton-like street, finds himself in a spot of bother when he is wrongly arrested and charged with breaking into an antique dealer’s shop. Sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment, things look grim for the hairy little bloke with the red hat, but his cheeriness and positivity soon rub off on the hardened lags in jail and he forms friendships with Knuckles, Spoon and Phibs (Brendan Gleeson, Aaron Neil, Noah Taylor), with whom he escapes and sets about clearing his name. The intricately plotted story, with a number of witty asides, is perhaps more demanding than your average kids’ flick but it is visually stunning throughout. Hugh Grant as Phoenix Buchanan, the vain West End actor past his prime, very nearly steals the show with a fabulously over-the-top performance, but nothing can detract from Paddington and his sweet naivety. Which is where the suspension of disbelief comes into play… near the end, he is trapped in a life-threatening situation, with Mrs Brown (Hawkins) trying to save him. All sound is dropped and for a heart-stopping minute you fear the worst. It is incredibly moving (and was too much for a little girl and her mother behind me). Go see it, and don’t leave when the credits start, otherwise you will miss a terrifically camp song and dance by Grant and the prison inmates. I loved it to bits.


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