'Christopher Robin' review: A nostalgic throwback the whole family will enjoy
Disney's newest live action film has Christopher Robin all grown up, having lost his love for adventure and creativity, till Winnie the Pooh makes an appearance
The story of Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and their band of furry friends in the Hundred Acre Wood has been a beloved tale since as early as the 1920s. There have been countless tellings of this story, however, there is not one like 'Christopher Robin,' Disney's newest live-action installment of the cherished 'Winnie The Pooh' franchise. As Christopher Robin is taken down a road of nostalgia and reflection, the audience is as well, which makes this the perfect film for both children and adults alike.
The story follows a middle-aged Christopher Robin (played by the delightful Ewan McGregor) who has lost the magic and zest for life that he once had. Now an overworked World War II vet who rarely sees his wife Evelyn and daughter Madeline (played by Hayley Atwell and Bronte Carmichael respectively), Christopher Robin seems to have forgotten all of the important lessons that Winnie the Pooh had once taught him. It is rather tragic seeing how Christopher Robin didn't try to pass on his love for adventure and creativity to his daughter and is making the same mistakes his parents made with him. After Christopher Robin's world seems to come crashing down when he finds out that he will lose his job if doesn’t make large layoffs at work, Winnie the Pooh suddenly appears when he needs him the most.
After Pooh finds Christopher Robin in London, they go on an adventure to the Hundred Acre Wood to find Pooh's missing friends. While the stakes are not as high as some might have wanted (this is a story for children after all), the most inspirational part of the film is the heartfelt message that it sends.
Everyone can relate to growing up, and while doing so, losing the magic in their life that they once had as a child. The world can beat you down and spit you out, leaving you hard and pessimistic, which is exactly what happened to Christopher Robin. Director Marc Forster does a beautiful job of depicting this allegory with bright and vibrant colors during the flashbacks, alongside the dark and dreary scenery that we see for most of the movie, being a reflection of Christopher Robin’s current life.
Besides the beautiful direction and the nostalgia that tugs at the heartstrings, one of the most charming parts of the film is Christopher Robin's daughter Madeline and her journey. Her story somewhat mirrors that of her father's when he was a child, with parents that are strict, solely focused on the practical aspects of life, lonely with no one her age to play with and a desire for belonging, magic and creativity. After Christopher Robin helps find Pooh's friends and leaves the Hundred Acre Wood to attempt to save his employees' jobs from an impending layoff, he inadvertently leaves vital documents behind. Pooh finds Madeline, and they go on an epic adventure to London with Eeyore, Tigger and Piglet to deliver the documents to Christopher Robin and save his job.
Panic ensues as Madeline more or less runs away, and in the midst of Christopher Robin's career-altering meeting, Evelyn arrives to inform him of their daughter's disappearance. After a slight moment of contemplation, Christopher Robin realizes that all that matters is family, and leaves the meeting abruptly to find his daughter.
After searching London for hours, Madeline, Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger and Piglet are reunited with Christopher Robin and Evelyn. However, unfortunately, the documents Christopher Robin needed were lost along the way. In a heartbreaking moment, Madeline tells Christopher Robin she was hoping that by delivering him the documents and saving the day, he would want to spend more time with her and not send her off to boarding school. This is a devastating moment for Christopher Robin as well, as he suddenly realizes what is truly important in life and recognizes the mistakes that he has made.
A triumphant Christopher Robin returns to his office (with his family and furry friends in tow) and shows the CEO a simple yet creative solution to their problem. He then takes his family and friends back to the Hundred Acre Wood, where the colors and atmosphere are vibrant again. Christopher Robin now sees what Pooh was talking about all along, "Doing nothing often leads to the very best something."
'Christopher Robin' hits theaters on August 3 in the US and on August 17 in the UK. Don't forget to stay through the credits for a special clip that you won't want to miss!