Written by: Niloufar Saririan
Copyedited by: Sophia Eberhard

You may find yourself having read the title and asking: Why are you, as a college student, getting emotional over PG-rated children’s movies? A valid question but also one that indicates a lack of good taste on your part. I first found myself watching the two movie masterpieces on a whim as background noise while doing homework and ended up (silently) bawling my eyes out in a tiny Library West cubicle. While the movies feature an adorably voiced CGI bear who’s the most polite young lad you’ll ever see, they also contain depth, which you don’t normally find in children’s movies. In this review, I’ll be delving into the movies without spoiling anything, so hopefully you’ll be inspired to give them a watch. 

“Paddington” (2014)

This story of a talking bear named Paddington traveling from Peru to London and becoming part of a family who needs him as much as he needs them is enough to make any homesick college student emotional. As an “out-of-stater gator” myself, I felt delightfully comforted by Paddington’s good natured optimism in the face of adapting to a new environment. Now add in the fact that Paddington has a British accent, a marmalade addiction, and is being hunted by a woman who’s entire mission is taxidermying him. As a viewer, you have no choice but to be sucked into a curious world where the existence of a gentlemanly bear is an accepted truth. If you’re looking for emotional provocation, I highly recommend watching the first “Paddington” movie.  

“Paddington 2” (2018)

Moving on to the 2018 sequel which ended up being one of the best executed sequels I’ve ever watched. I went into this movie with incredibly low expectations since most movie sequels disappoint. I’ve never been more wrong. The Wes Anderson-esque shots introduced in the first movie are amped up to create a truly aesthetically impressive sequel. The contrast between beautifully curated shots and a ridiculous plot in which our well-mannered protagonist is framed and thrown in prison for a 10 year sentence is immaculately done. This movie tells an absurd story and still manages to impart themes of family, friendship and kindness. “Paddington 2” also features Hugh Grant who could have been the goofiest character introduced but instead gives a hauntingly complex performance and pushes the movie’s action oriented plot forward at a refreshing pace.   

The “Paddington” movies possess a degree of separation between our world and Paddington’s, yet the themes and characters are recognizable and applicable to our own lives, allowing us to suspend our disbelief and connect to this alternate London without feeling silly. There are undoubtedly cheesy moments in these films, but they’re masterfully depicted in a way that’s heartwarming rather than cringeworthy. The Paddington Cinematic Universe is a testament to the fact that movies intended for children don’t always have to be full of bad CGI and horribly derivative dialogue (yes, this is a direct hit at the atrocious new “Clifford” movie) to be entertaining, fun and morally sound. Next time you find yourself looking for something to watch, maybe give “Paddington” a try!