It’s always a sunny day, when Christopher Robin comes to play.
-Winne the Pooh
Christopher Robin, the newest live-action film in the Winne the Pooh franchise, is a wake-up call to the child inside all of us and a love letter to the child we used to be. Together, Christopher Robin and the beloved crew from the Hundred Acre Wood reminds us just what it’s like to step away from the real world.
Bringing to life a famous children’s classic is always tough, especially when animals are involved, but the design of the animals gave them both a real and comforting feel. While the plot is entirely predictable and at some points dry, it’s the feeling of nostalgia that is consistent throughout the film. One of the biggest surprises was that the film didn’t entirely feel like a “kids movie.” Actually, most of the people in the theater at my showing were adults and seniors without kids.
At what age do we forget how to have fun, to be carefree like a child? When did sticks stop becoming swords, boxes stop becoming rocket ships, closets stop turning into portals to new worlds? Imagination should have no cut off, no age limit, and yet it does. Somewhere in becoming adults, the things that were once magical lost their touch. Growing up does not mean living a boring life. This film challenges the notion of having the most money in this life always the priority, even if that means sacrificing your own happiness. In the beginning of the file, Christopher Robin’s life is sequences in the way the original book does, flipping through pages and highlighting what time can do to the child in all of us. It was sobering to see, how mundane life can be if you let it.
The highlight was the message that hit a little too close to home, adulthood. Christopher Robin was in every way the “villain” of the film. No longer is he the boy who used to go on adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood but a man, consumed by his work, so much so, that he is slowly losing his family. The acute symbolism of Pooh losing his friends, Robin losing his family and the woods losing their lively color is what drives Pooh to find Christopher Robin in London. We continuously see the struggle of Christopher Robin remembering the child he once was and yet afraid to truly let go of the man he is now.
Ewan McGregor wonderfully embodied Christopher Robin in the different stages he went through as an adult. He perfected the stressed “head of the house” figure that many of us adults feel like we must become or we’ve seen in our parents. He then realizes he has lost himself, and in doing so, losing everything that matters to him. Perhaps my favorite scene in the film is when Pooh reassures him of the hope that he lost.
All of the favorite characters from Winnie the Pooh were spot on in the movie. Eeyore being blue and misplacing his tail, Tigger bouncing and singing the famous Tigger song, Rabbit ever being the voice of reason, Piglet the loyal and shy one dragged along for another adventure and Kanga, Roo and Owl. Of course the star of the movie was Pooh, the beloved “hunny” eating bear. Pooh is the driving force and hero of the movie just like when Christopher Robin was a child. Pooh remains the ever-loving friend and support of Robin. When Robin leaves the Hundred Acre Wood for the first time as a child, Pooh is deeply impacted by this and is shown waiting at the door for Robin to return for quite some time. It isn’t until Pooh loses the rest of his friends that he journeys into the real world to find Robin and save the day. Pooh gives Robin and the audience plenty of good advice through the film that we could all use. In the end, Pooh not only helps Christopher Robin find himself but also gets the whole family to enjoy the wonder of Hundred Acre Woods again.
Overall, Christopher Robin is a pure family summer movie that is always needed. As a long time fan of Winne the Pooh, I enjoyed the way I felt during the movie. Seeing beloved characters on the big screen and in new perspectives made the 5-year-old me extremely happy. It reminded me that being an adult doesn’t mean to forget fun and imagination, there’s always a perfect balance needed to get through life.