An adult Christopher Robin, who is now focused on his new life, work, and family, suddenly meets his old friend Winnie the Pooh, who returns to his unforgotten childhood past to help him return to the Hundred Acre Woods and help find Pooh’s lost friends.
Behind me at the screening of Christopher Robin, a small girl would frequently commentate and dissect the film out loud. The film, which deals with an older, more career-driven Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) than the playful and peacekeeping one we know in A.A. Milne’s timeless tales, poses a lot of questions and confusion about adulthood to younger viewers. At one point, this girl asked, “Why doesn’t he just get a new job?”
That was the kind of line that would do anyone in. As adults, we accept and take for granted that this is a middle-aged man in pursuit of security and comfort for his family. But Christopher Robin isn’t really made for us adults, now is it? Well, maybe not the practical and hardened ones. Marc Forster’s film means to awaken in us all the purity of living life at its simplest and how that option’s door is never really closed.
Even for Christopher Robin, who seems to be too far gone having lost his father as a boy, having served in WWII, having married and fathered a child of his own, the door to the Hundred Acre Woods doesn’t close. It’s none other Pooh (continued to be voiced by Jim Cummings, never better) who coaxes Christopher out of his comforts to return back to not just the Woods, but to his wife and child (Hayley Atwell and Bronte Carmichael, respectively), those present in his life.
One thing the film communicates so very well, through a montage of images, is how little it takes for so much to be taken from children. It is startling to see onscreen how the immersion into adulthood by chance or even childhood trauma lead to this adult Christopher Robin. We can detest his pull towards practicality all we wish, but the older you are, the more likely you are able to strike an empathetic chord with Christopher, which is quite an achievement in the film.
While Forster’s narrative hand may feel a bit too heavy and melancholic at times for younger ones, there is still so much goodness to behold, not less than the performances─physical and vocal─from McGregor and Cummings. Together they play straight and humorous, respectively, and to make the film’s point about embracing the things that truly matter in life─family, friends, and quite simply, the time you spend─the actors do a fine job. Even at mild points when the film threatens to feel too “Disney-fied,” Christopher Robin keeps the door open and stays to its point.
We award Christopher Robin our approval for All Ages.