Christopher Robin, rated PG
Christopher Robin is a delightful family-friendly film based on A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh book and characters. The film is a combination of live action and digitally enhanced “stuffed animals”, and contains some excellent messages about the importance of family and friends.
The film is directed by Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) and the screenplay is written by Alex Ross Perry, Oscar winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), and Oscar nominee Allison Schroeder (Hidden Figures).
When Christopher Robin, played by Golden Globe winner Ewan McGregor (Fargo), was a young boy, he would play with Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Woods. But when he was sent to boarding school he began to forget them. Now Christopher has grown up. He is a World War II veteran, is married to Evelyn, played by Golden Globe nominee Hayley Atwell (The Pillars of the Earth), and has a young daughter Madeline, played by Bronte Carmichael. He works as the leader of the Efficiency Department of the struggling Winslow Luggage Company in London. On a Friday, his boss Giles Winslow, played by Emmy winner Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), tells him that a meeting has been scheduled for the following Monday with Gile’s father, the owner of the company. As a result, Christopher will have to work all weekend to find a way to reduce expenses by 20%; if not, people will lose their jobs. Christopher already had plans to go with his wife and daughter to their cottage in Sussex for the weekend. He has to tell them that he can’t go, but he wants them to go ahead and make the trip while he works in London. This is obviously not the first time that the family has suffered at the expense of Christopher’s job. In addition, we see that Christopher is pushing his daughter to succeed academically at the expense of enjoying her childhood, and has plans to send her away to a boarding school that she doesn’t want to go to. This part of the film – showing how Christopher had prioritized his job over his family – went on a bit too long, and won’t connect with younger viewers there to see Pooh and his friends.
The film takes us to a foggy Hundred Acre Woods, and we see that Winnie the Pooh, voiced by Jim Cummings, has lost his friends which include Tigger, also voiced by Cummings, Eeyore, voiced by Brad Garrett, and Piglet, voiced by Nick Mohammed.
Pooh enters Christopher Robin’s old door in a tree to find Christopher so that he can help Winnie find his friends. He ends up in London and finds a Christopher Robin very much unlike the one he knew. It’s obvious that Christopher has forgotten Pooh and his childhood friends, and he is actually quite rude to Winnie. Christopher doesn’t have any interest in helping Winnie find his friends. All he wants to do is to get Winnie back to the Hundred Acre Woods so that he can get back to his work assignment in London. So, he grabs his briefcase full of his work papers (referred to as Very Important Things) and they head to the Hundred Acres Woods, where Winnie and his friends fear heffalumps and woozles.
The film includes some excellent humor, including Pooh’s love of honey, and Eeyore’s downcast comments. It features some excellent quotes from Winnie (“I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been”, “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day”, and “What day is this? It’s today. Yesterday was too much day”. The film includes some animation, which were based on drawings done by E.H. Shepard for the original Winnie the Pooh books.
Christopher Robin is a film that the entire family can enjoy together. It contains some excellent messages about the importance of family and friendship, is both humorous, and also sad at times. The film is much better and ultimately more uplifting than the depressing 2017 film Goodbye Christopher Robin. See my review of that film here.