Film Review: Christopher Robin

As a kid I used to have a copy of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh on VHS that was watched frequently and much loved by my sisters and I. I’ve read bits and pieces of A.A. Milne’s stories, but for me the Pooh I know and love is the Disney one. This movie draws on both sources to craft a sweet, if cheesy, story about perspective and the importance of remaining young at heart.

chrisrobin pos

Ewan McGregor plays the grown up Christopher Robin, who is trapped in a life of office drudgery and needs to cut his department’s costs by 20% and explain how at a big meeting. Due to the meeting he cancels plans for a weekend in the countryside with his wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), which doesn’t go over well, especially as Madeline is soon to be packed off to boarding school.

Back into his life comes Pooh (voiced by Jim Cummings), who seeks him out when he loses the rest of his friends. While CR initially thinks he is cracking under the stress he agrees to take Pooh back to the Hundred Acre Wood, although he struggles with the silly old bear.

chrisrobin mcgregor

But as time progresses he begins to recover the childlike joy of the world he created, and has fun for the first time. Unfortunately the real world soon calls and he departs once more, leaving behind important papers.

Pooh and friends set off to return the papers and encounter Madeline, who joins them in their expedition, and runs off.

Will Pooh get the papers to CR in time? Will CR realise there are more important things in life than work? Will Madeline have to go to the boarding school she’s not fussed on?

You can probably guess the answers to these questions, as plot wise this doesn’t have many surprises, but it doesn’t need to as it’s a solidly told tale. Helping it out are the familiar and lovable characters, alongside a solid performance from McGregor who captures the quiet frustration and emotional distance of Christopher Robin in the early stages, as well as nailing the childlike joy and humour he rediscovers.

It’s wonderfully heartwarming and filled with some funny moments and entertaining sequences. The CGI rendered toys are all delightful, especially Tigger (also voiced by Cummings) and the wonderfully downbeat Eeyore (Brad Garrett).

Unfortunately for much of the cast they don’t get much to do. Bronte Carmichael impresses as Madeline, showing spirit and humour as she joins in the adventures.  But Hayley Atwell is underused as Evelyn, which is a pity as she has natural on screen charisma that goes unused.

chrisrobin atwell

Some people might regard it as schmaltzy, but I found some parts genuinely affecting and sweetly charming. The idea of reclaiming youthful joy is hardly a new story but it’s well executed, and using the residents of Hundred Acre Wood ensures that the audience feel the same nostalgia and affection that Christopher Robin experiences.

Verdict: There are cheesy moments, but the movie has genuine heart and McGregor excels as the eponymous character. The CGI characters outperform many of the living actors, and the story is predictable, but it still works as an entertaining and warmhearted tale. 7/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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