Hugh Grant has stated his belief that Paddington 2 is the best film he has ever made. The veteran British actor has had a varied career over the years that goes far beyond the romantic comedies for which he is most famous, and was most recently seen in Amazon Prime miniseries A Very English Scandal, the true story of a disgraced British politician whose former lover threatens to expose their relationship from a time when homosexuality was still illegal in the UK, and so incompetently conspires to murder him.
Despite acting professionally since the early ‘80s and playing significant roles in the likes of horror The Lair of the White Worm and erotic romance Bitter Moon, it wasn’t until the unexpected success of Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994 that he became a star. The instant fame was a double edged sword, granting him greater notoriety and career potential at the cost of many people believing the character of a stuttering and bumbling charmer was all he was capable of, a perception that wasn’t helped by similar subsequent roles in Notting Hill and Mickey Blue Eyes.
The subject of Grant’s opinion of his performance in Paddington 2 came from an interview with Vanity Fair. A month after the film’s release he presented the Best Foreign Language Film at 2018’s Golden Globes and was introduced as its star, to which Twitter reacted derisively, taking such an introduction as a sign of how far the actor has fallen from grace. Grant called the comments “particularly annoying,” and stated that “I genuinely believe it may be the best film I’ve ever been in.”
What particularly made Grant’s turn in Paddington 2 a fun one was the self-deprecating irony of the character. With less sinister echoes of Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events, his villainous Phoenix Buchanan was a washed up actor whose best days were behind him, but nevertheless refused to believe he has been relegated to the scrap heap and continued to bask in the fading adulation from his former glory. The attitude is not entirely dissimilar to many people’s perception of Grant himself, which was why he was approached for the role in the first place, and accepted after seeing the funny side of it.
Grant has previously been shown to be objective about the films he has been in and his performances in them, particularly in the case of romantic comedy Nine Months, where he willingly called out his own overacting as a contributing factor to its critical mauling. So, in stating his belief that Paddington 2 transcends everything else he has done you can be assured he genuinely means it. Besides, anyone who has actually seen the film would not take having appeared in it as a sign of a new career low, regardless of any snobbish disregard from it being a sequel to a kids’ film. It’s a delightful tale of unconditional affection and warm-hearted chaos, with Paddington’s unshakable ability to not only always see the best in people but also bring it out in them being something everyone would do well to take lessons from.
Source: Vanity Fair