Pardon the unintended pun, but "Paddington" is a gentle, heartfelt bear hug of a movie. In adapting the "Paddington Bear" book series by Michael Bond, writer-director Paul King and co-writer Hamish McColl have fashioned a big-screen romp impeccably blending the aesthetic style of Wes Anderson with the emotional resonance of Wes Anderson on a good day. Delightfully British in its sensibilities, the film is tartly quick-witted, has some earnest lessons to impart, and, best of all, doesn't try too hard. The slapstick is mostly smart, even when it turns to literal bathroom humor, and pop-culture references are nonexistent within a story that melds the old-fashioned and the modern to present an alternate, arguably timeless reality.
Many years ago, a British explorer (Tim Downie) made his way into the rainforests of darkest Peru and befriended a sleuth of curious, intelligent bears. These furry creatures never forgot their special human pal or the English language he taught them, passing down to the ensuing generations of cubs the tales and learning tools he left behind. When an earthquake destroys his home and claims the life of his beloved Uncle Pastuzo (voiced by Michael Gambon), a plucky young bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) sets off on a lifeboat to find a new family in London. The people of this foreign city do not exactly welcome him with open arms—that is, until he is found standing on the train platform at Paddington Station and promptly invited by kindly illustrator Mrs. Brown (Sally Hawkins) to come home with her. As the Brown family—Mrs. Brown, her stodgy risk analyst husband Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville), their terminally embarrassed preteen daughter Judy (Madeleine Harris), and science prodigy son Jonathan (Samuel Joslin)—gradually warm to this hat-wearing, marmalade-loving bear, they agree to help him track down the whereabouts of the mystery explorer from decades' past. What they do not yet realize, however, is that the newly named Paddington is in grave danger of being kidnapped and stuffed by cutthroat Natural History Museum taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman).
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review