Paddington2, premiere and adoption
I will cut to the chase, all my life I have loved Paddington Bear not just because he is funny, clumsy and I like bears but because as a little girl the minute I heard the story of Paddington Bear I cried.. Because at last I had found someone who had a story a little like mine… Tick – orphaned overseas. Tick – Left for dead. Tick – adopted into a new family and Tick – seriously love marmalade! Fast forward a few decades and here I am all grown up going to the Paddington Bear premiere and crying my eyes out the night before because I just cannot believe that childhood dreams can come true, that Paddington would be a movie and I could meet the cast courtesy of my film friends actress Shola Adewusi and stuntman Felix Leech (watch out for his box splitz in the film!)
Is Paddington2 everything the critics and best movie of 2017?
Will you love the film even if you hate marmalade? Or bears? Trust me. You will love it!! 10 seconds in and I’m laughing like a child at Paddington cleaning his fury ears out with 2 electric toothbrushes. Suddenly, I’m that little girl again and watching a story that resonates with many of my childhood experiences including feeling alone and forgotten, fearful, being bullied and not being understood. The film is one of the few films to celebrate adoption and fostering! It clearly shows the power of love to overcome adversity, childhood fears and loss. Watching the Brown family fight for Paddington got me crying, as I know how many times in real life my parents fought for me. Every adoptee or fostered young person needs someone to fight for them in life situations as the challenges they face can be of herculean proportions.
Anyone who faces any adversity needs to find joy in that situation, and against all the odds our dear Paddington succeeds.
As adults why is this film important? Why take your kids?
Paddington2 apart from being hilarious, heart warming, a great drama and a beautiful ‘feel-good’ factor movie, it very cleverly incorporates difficult challenging childhood topics. For example, ask any adopted or foster family what other people think of their new child? Sadly many will say that not everyone in their community shares in their love and acceptance of having a ‘different’ type of person in the community.
My dear friends David and Carrie Grant (Fame Academy/songs of Praise/amazing singers) have adopted a beautiful little boy only to find out that like Paddington there are many ‘Mr. Curry’ type people out there who choose to despise, sow lies and fear about an adopted/fostered person, their blog reveals the shocking truths of their – school run terror.
I believe it is important as Carrie Grant writes to educate especially young children about the importance of ‘difference’ and accepting and loving people who seem different to ourselves. Fear and segregation builds not only a poor society but leads to all manner of social disparity, injustice and hate crime.
The message of Paddington
Any movie tacking challenging society issues aimed at both the child and adult in my opinion is a social game-changer. Michael Bond’s Paddington I believe is up there with Charles Dickens and his Oliver Twist. Paddington to me as a transracial adoptee is a beacon of hope that sticks like marmalade. I loved the message that whosoever a child chooses to call mum, dad or auntie or uncle irrespective of an actual blood lineage, through the mystery of extreme unconditional love, becomes the fullness of that title and more. My parents are not just my ‘parents’ but are my ‘hero’s, they loved me when I was a dying child, homeless, a rebellious lost youth full of fear and self harming.. Come on!
Paddington in Prison
It’s not just an important message for a family of an adopted or fostered child, but as Paddington shows us, it is important for any child to learn the concepts through watching others of unconditional love. Paddington when faced with his prison sentence – now I’m spoiling the film for you! Was able to apply the principles of unconditional love, why? Because He had experienced at first hand that degree of love himself from his bear foster family and now the Brown’s forever family. Is that important? I believe yes.
Many young people have not grown up in a loving environment and learned the first principle of loving and respecting yourself and others. Trauma if not dealt with grows and develops into many issues, and crime is one of them. Paddington choose to love his inmates, people who did not love towards him and were gripped by past fear. Currently around 60% of people in prison have been adopted or fostered; this in today’s society is disgraceful. We need to keep working with Governments, friends, families, community groups to help raise children even if they are not our own – because as the African adage goes – it takes a village to raise a child, so we can all support injustice, families who are struggling or young people who need a kind word or deed.
Paddington – A film with a purpose
Children’s films especially ones that tackle challenging subject matter have a moral obligation to speak truth and hope to young people, families and society. In other words – get your facts straight! I always suggest to film- makers to converse with specialists and those directly affected by the films subject matter wisely prior to shooting the film. Why? To minimize the possibility of indoctrinating children with truths that may not be expedient or detrimental to a vulnerable child’s development.
Such as the film Ballerina out earlier this year, I wrote an article about it. In a nutshell, a film that is about being an orphan, running away from a secure orphanage (or for that matter home) to follow your dreams aged 8! For many children experiencing childhood trauma the ‘running away’ syndrome is a daily battle for many parents. That film as ‘fun’ as it seems, is an encouragement to any vulnerable child to run away to a better life, ask any responsible adult and running away to a big city can quite literally be a death sentence..
In Burma, Africa and around the world children are warned in orphanages if they leave the safety of a compound they risk being abducted, murdered, encouraged to join a gang, trained as a child soldier, sexually abused, child trafficked or sold for body parts. I rest my case.
*What films speak to vulnerable young minds matters.
Go see this film. I was laughing my head off then balling my eyes out, then laughing again! I laughed for days, and the cast are all lovely kind people, the crew the same and in fact – the whole team.
Support great British Films and especially those that are as cleverly powerful and funny as this.
Thank you everyone. Thank you Mr. Michael Bond.
FURTHER READING AND INFO:
Adoption and fostering in the UK affects a quarter of the population.
Why we need to do more to help young people?
Society I believe needs to understand about the relationship between trauma and childhood suffering
Many families require more post adoption support; I believe we need to lobby the government to do more.
thank you for reading.
Joy Carter – comedian, writer, speaker and humour seminars
thank u to my lovely friends – Shola and Felix xxx