“Doing nothing often leads to the very best kind of something. “
Winnie the Pooh
In “Christopher Robin,” director Marc Forster gives the Hundred Acre Wood a nice dose of reality and a return to its roots.
While the film certainly has its Disney touches, it has ditched the sometimes cloying sweetness that the Mouse House has forced onto the Winnie the Pooh franchise over the years. Instead, what we’re left with is a Pooh Bear that may be a little sad at times, but feels truer to the original Milne story.
In this latest adaptation, we see Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) grow up, get married, and start a family of his own. Drawn into WWII and then distracted by work, his wife, Evelyn (Hayley Atwell), barely sees him, and his daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), barely knows him.
A skipped family weekend and an unexpected visit from an old friend lead to a return to the land of his childhood, and a long overdue lesson on what’s truly important. Reunited with that silly, old bear (voiced by Jim Cummings) and all his friends, Christopher Robin proves to the Hundred Acre gang, his family, and himself that he’s not a Heffalump or a Woozle.
What the film lacks in subtlety it makes up for in sweetness. Not the obnoxious kind previously mentioned, but the kind that comes from the innocence of a silly old bear trying to understand the adult world his dearest friend now inhabits. It’s heartbreaking at times, but in a way that feels necessary.
Nowhere is this clearer than when Christopher Robin prattles on about “letting people go” at work, Pooh innocently asks if Robin let him go. It’s lines like this delivered without a hint of malice or a hidden agenda that make this film feel so authentic. It’s a perfect representation of the innocence of childhood.
Before you start thinking it’s nearly two hours of sappy, sentimental nostalgia, it’s actually quite funny too. Pooh’s obsession with a red balloon, his inability to play “the sleeping game,” and Eeyore (voiced by Brad Garrett) all add some enjoyable and necessary lightness to the film.
It’s perhaps not a perfect film overall. Much like Winnie the Pooh, it’s stuffed with fluff at times. However, it’s the best kind of fluff, and a reminder to not be a Heffalump or a Woozle. Enjoying this film for what it is and not what you think it should be is the perfect opportunity to prove it.
…just for fun: