Paddington 2 (PG) The Florida Project (15)
Unabashedly sweet, wholesome, crowd-pleasing sequel: a tear-jerking delight, which promotes compassion and a resolutely old-fashioned message of hope and community spirit, and never deviates from trumpeting the central character’s unerring optimism in an era of paranoia and selfish desires. The pantomime villain is a scheming theatrical ham, played to the comic hilt by Hugh Grant, who dons a wimple and knight’s armour to steal hidden treasure that should have been claimed by an ancestor. Writer-director Sean Baker remains defiantly on the frayed fringe of society for this exuberant portrait of families living hand-to-mouth in the shadow of the fairytale sparkle of Walt Disney World. The story unfolds over one lazy summer and is anchored by searing performances from Bria Vinaite and Brooklynn Prince as a mother and daughter who’ll do anything (including cheat and steal) to keep a roof over their heads. There are grim moments yet the impact is softened with humour and humanity, exposing chinks of vulnerability beneath the facades.