Paddington 2by Dr Andrea Papitsch-Clark - 8th January, 2018
A few years ago, when the children were still too small to engage in New Year’s Eve activities, we decided to go and watch a family movie in the cinema. This happened to be the first Paddington movie. We all really loved it, hence were all very excited when the new Paddington movie was released a few weeks ago. Paddington 2 – was it equally lovely to the first one? Yes, I’d say so and would suggest going to see it for the feel-good factor, if you haven’t already. If you haven’t seen it, you may choose not to read on, as this blog may spoil it for you, talking about the plot of the second film.
So Paddington’s Aunt Lucy, who took him in as a baby when she rescued him from being swept away in the river, has a special birthday coming up, and Paddington wants to give her a very special present. By coincidence he finds a pop-up book of London, which he considers to be just perfect for his beloved aunt – but little does he know that some less desirable’s also have their eye on this unique book, as it is effectively a treasure map. The book is stolen, Paddington gets accused of taking it and has to go to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Prison is a scary place, and especially for a little bear, but Paddington being Paddington manages to make friends with the other prisoners, by standing up for what he believes – mainly Marmalade sandwiches!
In the meanwhile, the Brown family, Paddington’s host family in London try to clear Paddington’s name, but Paddington gets persuaded by his new prison friends that the Browns will forget about him in prison, and manage to talk him into attempting a break-out from prison. Whilst Paddington tries to keep his faith in the Browns, he eventually falters and joins a small group of other prisoners in their break-out. They try to convince him to leave the country, but he resists as he wants to return to the Browns, and clear his name. In the meantime the Browns have successfully identified the true culprit and try to retrieve the book, which puts Paddington’s life in danger. In the end his new prison friends return to rescue him…
It’s a lovely story, a lovely movie, and one that makes you feel good, despite perhaps making you shed a few tears in the process… From a psychology point of view, the movie draws on many themes, including attachment, friendship and coping at times of adversity. The story highlights the importance of Paddington’s attachment to Aunt Lucy and his belief in the life lessons she has taught him, such as to be himself, and to believe in the people who love him. Although Paddington wobbles in his belief in the Browns, and this leads him to be more receptive to the persuasive messages from the other prisoners to attempt to break out from prison, he tries to do ‘the right thing’ to seek out the Browns and to clear his name (which is what the other prisoners promised they would help him do). Paddington does at all times essentially try to remain himself, even at times of hardship and adversity. This is what makes Paddington very loveable, and allows him to build new friendships and cope even in unlikely circumstances. This also allows him to bring out the best in other people. In terms of psychological theory, having stable attachments does indeed provide a solid base to explore the world, and Paddington’s belief in himself and his understanding of the world, as taught to him by Aunt Lucy, help him to navigate the world. Although, it makes him come across as potentially naïve, I think that his unquestioning belief in the goodness of people makes it a heart-warming story! And perhaps Paddington’s ability to draw on what you know and believe, and remain true to yourself despite external pressures and stresses is something we can aspire to. Of course, whilst in real life this does not always guarantee success, it may help us to stay more authentic, and navigate the world based on our internal moral compass.
If you are suffering with any of the issues discussed in this article and would like to seek professional help then you may find our page about Family Counselling useful.