“People say nothing’s impossible but I do nothing all day ” – Winnie The Pooh
It’s been a year since Fox Searchlight gave us Goodbye, Christopher Robin, a beautiful tale about author A.A. Milne and how his son inspired the story behind Winnie the Pooh. Who doesn’t love Winnie the Pooh? If you don’t, then a trip to the cinema this weekend to see Disney’s Christopher Robin will soften the hardest of hearts and you will fall in love.
Christopher Robin starts with the eponymous boy leaving his furry friends behind to go to boarding school, serving as a nostalgic reminder of the young lad who had imagination and knew how to have fun.
The film explores a new side of Christopher Robin by showing him as a grown man (played by Ewan McGregor), living and working in London. Robin chooses work life over family life, the work-life creating a clearly obvious imbalance. It’s a sadly relatable moment when he misses a trip to the countryside with his wife and daughter and stays in the city to work on an important project for his boss. We’ve all been there, missing out on family fun because work responsibilities get in the way and we dutifully choose work over family. But Christopher Robin has become such a workaholic that even bedtime reading isn’t fun.
Enter our favorite “silly ol’ bear,” Winnie the Pooh, who reintroduces himself into adult Christopher Robin’s life to remind him that there’s a lot more to life than just work. Christopher Robin can’t believe it when he sees Pooh and thinks it’s work stress making him see the live-animated Pooh before his eyes.
The Pooh reunion leads Christopher Robin back to the Hundred Acre Wood where Heffalumps and Woozles now exist and Pooh needs to find his friends.
The CGI effects are pure magic and the fantasy of watching live-animated Pooh, Tigger, Roo, Piglet, and Eeyore are classic Disney, transporting us into the sort of charming world that Disney does best. The commitment to detail makes us believers. Thanks to Marc Forster’s direction and Matthias Koenigswieser’s cinematography, the woods are lush and captivating, enveloping us in the journey with these iconic characters every moment that they’re together.
The voice work comes courtesy of Brad Garrett, Toby Jones, Sophie Okonedo, Peter Capaldi, and Jim Cummings, all wonderfully warm and sweet.
Christopher Robin is a film not just for kids. It’s a reminder to adults that resonates deeply. It reminds us of the importance of spending time with our loved ones and the value of family time. The film is a fun-filled two-hour journey. Most of the laughs are provided through Pooh just being Pooh and his perpetual need for hunny to satisfy the rumbly in his tumbly. His friends are just as enchanting. Children and adults alike will find themselves laughing throughout because this is a thoroughly wonderful, warm, and loveable film. Whether speaking to its younger audience about the magic of furry toys, or urging adults to never lose touch with our imagination, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Pooh and friends and Christopher Robin.
The magic of this film, aside from catapulting us back to our childhood, is the reminder that Christopher Robin’s life was enriched as a boy (and again as a man) in a world where his best friends are stuffed animals. Together they have adventures, have afternoon tea, fall in streams, and fight Heffalumps. It’s a magical imagination and trek into the woods through unadulterated innocence and simplicity. As much as we envy Christopher Robin’s boyhood experience, the adventure he has with Pooh as an adult is equally inspiring.
With Mary Poppins Returns just around the corner on December 19, Christopher Robin satisfies our appetite for the perfect family outing. It’s bound to become a summer hit. Live-animated Pooh bear is ridiculously cute and McGregor is delightfully charming as the workaholic grown-up forced to stop for a minute and let his imagination take him back to his lucky boyhood. It’s a lesson good for any of us to remember — along with the remember that once in awhile it’s ok to follow Pooh’s favorite pursuit, and prove that doing nothing is not impossible.
Disney’s Christopher Robin arrives on August 2.