Paddington is back and he’s still awesome. The film has received glowing praise from Critic reviews and there are some important lessons that we can all learn from the Brown family. Despite getting framed for a crime he did not commit and then incarcerated, Paddington still manages to look for the good in everything.
Some of the critics have made the connection to Paddington 2 being Anti-Brexit. There are also references to the colourful multicultural melting pot of London and plenty of positive messages for immigration and inclusivity. With all good family films, I was searching for something deeper and I looked to the characters for my inspiration.
Mr Brown is the Dad in this film, but the lessons I took away were not drawn from him, or his struggle with his mid life crisis after being passed over for promotion at work. He is slightly less hapless and his character seems to have grown from his experiences in the original film, but for me all the lessons I took were from Paddington. Paddington has a strong moral compass, clear Values and Standards and a clear view of right and wrong.
The film itself has plenty of visual stimulation and excitement too. Where else would you see chase scenes involving a dog and a swan, steam trains and a hot air balloon made out of tea towels. I also enjoyed the hysterically camp villains brandishing ‘baguettes’ and xenophobic neurotics raising the neighbourhood alert state to ‘wild hysteria’. The really interesting bit about Paddington’s community is that they fall apart when he is taken from them; it was his positive outlook that was holding them all together.
Paddington is incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit and the Browns get swept up in the mission to prove his innocence. They miss visiting day and Paddington believes they have forgotten him. As he lies in his prison bed and a tear runs down his long snout I found myself getting a bit choked up. This bit of the film touched a real nerve and awoke my visceral fear of abandonment. It brought back all the times I had been dropped off at the Wiltshire Boarding School for Nefarious Boys. It also reminded me of all the times I have failed in my obligations as a Father; every time I have to go away for work (this happens a lot) I wonder how much of this pain I inflict on my own family.
I worried about the darkness of the prison scenes and the suggestion of underlying menace and violence, but like the adult jokes weaved into the slapstick, this didn’t seem to register with my small accomplices. Whilst I was having flash backs to Prison Break and the bit where Mike Ross gets locked up in Suits and worrying about Paddington getting shanked, they just revelled in the fact that Paddington managed to dye all the prison uniforms pink.
Even in prison, Paddington brings out the best in everyone. In this chaotic and adversarial world, his special brand of Ubuntu and positivity should be an inspiration to all of humanity. Try seeing the best In someone tomorrow and help spread some happiness – you might enjoy it.
Paddington is awesome. Be more like Paddington.