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| 15 August 2018 | Reply

Directed by Marc Forster
Starring Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Mark Gattiss, Jim Cummings
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

It might be the adults in the cinema who relate more to this delightfully adorable Disney offering, rather than the youngsters present. After all, we’re the ones who’ve grown up with A A Milne’s wonderful characters rather than Transformers and the like – but who better than us to share some of that beloved joy to today’s younger generation than us… with a little help from Disney, of course.

Christopher Robin opens with young Christopher farewelling his friends Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit, Eeyore, Owl, Kanga and Roo in Hundred Acre Wood as he prepares to go away to boarding school. It’s a heartbreaking scene which expertly summarises Robin’s (and all of our) loss of childhood innocence – which is the primary theme of this film, after all.

Fast forward a few decades and our titular hero (Ewan McGregor) is a workaholic, neglecting his wife Evelyn (a stoic Hayley Atwell) and daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael). Christopher has all but forgotten his childhood friends, and certainly forgotten all the lessons about life he learned with them. Now sacrificing his preciously scant family time to appease his slimeball boss (Mark Gatiss) he is even preparing to send Madeline to boarding school, despite his own unpleasant experiences at the same.

Enter Pooh and Co, splendidly rendered via the magic of CGI as actual stuffed toys come to life, and voiced with panache by Jim Cummings (Pooh and Tigger) a seriously experienced voice actor who first voiced Pooh in 1990, Brad Garrett (Eeyore), Nick Mohammed (Piglet), Peter Capaldi (Rabbit), Toby Jones (Owl) and others. Their uniquely innocent world view helps Christopher reassess his own skewed world view.

It’s easy to view Christopher Robin as a movie out of time: its simple plot and gentle pace are completely at odds with the normal Hollywood fare, and its cuteness will seem twee to some.

But it is worth remembering that more than at any point in history we are all Christopher Robins: pulled in a hundred different directions, never far removed from checking in and tweeting and Instagramming our meal or the view, WE are the problem.

Christopher Robin reminds us that family is more important, that we need to believe in ourselves and those we love, and make time to live our lives now rather than later, after some imagined finish line is met.

“There is more to life than balloons and honey,” Robin sternly admonishes Pooh at one point. But must there be?

For all of us who have grown up too far and found ourselves as lost as Christopher Robin, here is a film to remind us that being young at heart is possible – essential – no matter how old we are.

Full of Milne’s pithy aphorisms, Christopher Robin is a delight, best shared with those we love the most – for that is what matters most in this all-too-short life we have.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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