Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Noah Taylor, Peter Capaldi, Brendon Gleeson, Joanna Lumley, Eileen Atkins, Ben Miller, Tom Conti, Meera Syal, Samuel Joslin, Madeline Harris, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Simon Farnaby, Jessica Hynes, Richard Ayoade, Tom Davies, Cal McCrystal.
It is through the eyes of the innocent that we perhaps see beauty and good in the world, that we don’t just tolerate the storms and the fire that surround us but that we embrace it, we seek out the violence not to get a thrill from the fight but to hopefully offer a solution, a kind word spoken can make the difference in a day and in a person’s life.
Paddington 2 is a rare case of kindness in action but one that does not shy away from delivering poignancy, of taking the observations of today and making them jump right out of the pages of the books delivered with almost gentle persuasion by the creator of the books, the wonderful Michael Bond.
Kindness is a virtue that people, for whatever reason, try to shy away from, they don’t like perhaps the feeling of being used by the callous and those whose opinions and actions are far removed from the ideal. Yet it takes one of British literature’s finest children’s creations to show just what can be achieved if we were a little nicer to each other. If we weren’t so preoccupied with making money, of being famous for anything other than having our pictures in the papers and then complaining about lack of privacy, then maybe a much loved children’s character could be more of an inspiration that we dare to believe.
It is in the voice that the emotion of the film captures the heart, the fantastic Ben Whishaw truly offers a unique insight into the world of the innocent, of the sense of purity that was framed by the original author and it is in the voice that the film becomes an enchanted feast of cinema.
If kindness is its own reward, then Paddington 2 is certain to be blessed by children, families and those whom have grown up with the bear from Peru in their lives with great thanks, spotless, absolutely funny without ever descending into the bloated beast of cruelty, a film that has in all terms possible, brilliance weaved through it.
With superb performances by Hugh Grant, the always generous Sally Hawkins and wonderfully polished Brendon Gleeson, the whole production is one of care, of innocent beauty and flair. Paddington 2 is arguably one of the great films of 2017.
Ian D. Hall