I think I’ve always liked the idea of the Paddington books more than I’ve actually ever liked Paddington. I know that I read them as a kid, but they didn’t particularly stick. So when the movie came out in 2014, I thought it might be fun to go see, but never did. Fast forward to 2018, when I had a chance to review Paddington 2, I figured I better start by catching up with the first film. Lucky for me, it happens to be streaming on Netflix, so I didn’t have to wait for the library to deliver a copy to my hold shelf. This is my belated review for those of you who, like me, missed it the first time but are now seeing it in your Netflix feed.
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The book, A Bear Called Paddington, and its sequels, have a reading level of around 8-12 years but are recommended for ages 4-8, making it a good series for advanced readers or reading aloud. Each chapter of these books is actually its own separate story with a happy ending. One of the fun things about classic books like this one, is that there is no end to the fun activities you can find to go with the book. The official website has teaching guides and downloadable activities. You’ll find even more activities on Pinterest and home school blogs.
As with many films made out of classic kids books, the Paddington movie creates a deeper back story, a villain, and a conflict that doesn’t exist in the books. At the same time, it drops quite a few of the book’s adventures while creating new ones. If you are hoping for a faithful re-telling of the book, you won’t find that.
This movie plays on the border of a straight kids movie and a family film. It didn’t fully hold my interest as an adult. I was reading a book while watching it; but it did make me laugh out loud more than once. My tween was bored and left in the middle. However, it was a bit too intense for my 3-year-old. The 6- and 8-year-old boys enjoyed it. Because they did enjoy it, and because the books are also aimed at their age level, I plan to read the books with them. This ups the movie’s value to me. Anything that encourages reading is a positive for me.>
Parental Guidance for Paddington
This movie has a PG rating for mild action and rude humor. Honestly, I felt the motion picture association was a bit harsh on this one. A possibly objectionable scene is when Mr. Brown dresses up like a woman in a maid’s uniform. He is obviously a man, but a security guard is fooled and finds him attractive. This is the same kind of classic Hollywood humor that we find in Some Like It Hot or Mrs. Doubtfire. I didn’t find that scene objectionable and didn’t have a problem with my kids watching it.
There were a few scenes that were too intense for my 3-year-old. In particular, the climatic ending was scary for her.
Judging from the reactions of my kids, I think Paddington is best watched with kids between the ages of 5-10.
Would I watch Paddington again? Yes, if it is on and I don’t have anything better to do. If it were at a nearby park. It is unlikely that I would seek it out again.
We were not compensated in any way for this review but there are affiliate links to purchase the book and movie through Amazon.