I am a huge fan of British culture. I am a fan of good movies for the whole family. I am not always a fan of movies that combine live people with computer-generated characters. These preferences all came together in a positive way, however, when I recently saw Paddington Bear.
According to the Internet Movie Database website, the plot is as follows: “A young Peruvian bear travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the kindly Brown family, who offer him a temporary haven.”
The great British statesman most responsible for eradicating slavery in England, William Wilberforce, believed that God called him to two great goals: abolish slavery and reform manners. In this movie, although there are bathroom humor moments, good manners are subtly preached all the way through. Then again, what else would we expect from a movie that takes place in London and features a bear that speaks with a British accent? On a deeper level, Paddington Bear inculcates other positive themes, like self-sacrifice, love of family and courage. These are not often found in children’s movies these days.
This movie had few-to-no significant problems, only some smaller ones. In one scene, we see the head of the household, Mr. Brown (played by Hugh Bonneville of PBS’s Downton Abbey, a show I have seen only once), try to sneak his way by security by dressing like a maid. As Plugged-In Movie review site points out, he says this was a “liberating experience.” The movie did not camp on this or seem to be sending a political message fortunately. My biggest problem related to Mr. Brown’s daughter having a boyfriend.
Related, there is one scene at the end of the movie where the boy is in the daughter’s room that bothered me, even though nothing sexual or specifically inappropriate was inferred. Compared to most movies marketed to kids, the language in Paddington Bear was tame. I do not recall any dirty words. Finally, parents who are ultra-against violence may find a few scenes too tense for younger viewers.
Plugged-In Movie review found one explicit spiritual reference I would have missed, “Paddington is startled awake by someone’s voice, and he asks, ‘Is that you, God?’” Beyond that, the movie speaks to everyday themes. If you are looking for an explicitly Christian movie for the whole family that feeds the soul, this movie will disappoint you. If you want some good, clean entertainment with overall positive values that are not incompatible with the Christian worldview, this film works.
Whether you have long loved Paddington, the talking bear who eats marmalade and wears a rain coat, or are brand-new to the series, there is something in this movie for viewers of all ages.
Rating: 3 of 4 stars