By Jordan Peterson | @himynamesjordan
Directed by: Marc Forster
Written by: Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy & Allison Schroeder
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Tim Cummings & Bronte Carmichael
Running time: 1 hr. 44 min.
Christopher Robin is the second movie in just under a year to center around the fictional-but-not-really-fictional human playmate of everybody’s favorite honey-lover, Winnie the Pooh. Last year Simon Curtis directed Goodbye Christopher Robin, a much harsher examination of the real-life ‘Pooh’ author A.A. Milne and his strained relationship with his young son, C.R. Milne, who inspired the Christopher Robin character from the books.
As I’m sure you’ve surmised from the marketing, Marc Forster’s (Finding Neverland) Christopher Robin is a much more pleasant and family-friendly throwback to the popular “Winnie the Pooh” stories; more specifically, the 1980s cartoon with Tim Cummings returning as the voice of the iconic silly bear.
Ewan McGregor steps into the muddied loafers of the now joyless, middle-aged Christopher Robin, whose all-consuming job as an efficiency manager at a suitcase factory often leads to unfulfilled promises with his wife, Evelyn (Hayley Atwell), and his young daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael). Luckily, who should come stumbling (literally) back into his life but his long-lost friend Pooh to help him reconnect with his inner imaginative self.
It’s a tale almost as old as time with themes and plot points that feel as tattered and worn out as the stitched cherry-red sweater on Pooh’s back after years of play in the woods. The first twenty minutes especially drag on in the process of establishing what a soulless lump Christopher Robin has become. And though McGregor has great familial chemistry with both Atwell and Carmichael, much of their dialogue is thematically heavy-handed and Atwell’s talents seem wasted as she’s almost exclusively resided to reiterating again and again how busy Christopher Robin is with work and how absent he’s become at home.
Like Eeyore drifting down a creek in the Hundred-Acre Wood, however, Christopher Robin floats by on its warm-and-fuzzies. A dumb smile made itself at home on my face starting in the second act and resided there the entire time Pooh and the gang was on screen. While most of the wonderfully-animated CG critters have been recast for a new generation of moviegoers, every line and action feels ripped straight from the pages of A.A. Milne’s charming books or the delightful Disney cartoons. If you’re a fan of either (perhaps both!), then I can full-heartedly recommend you check out Christopher Robin.
What did you think of Christopher Robin? Did it make you smile or were you hoping for something more? I want to hear from you so hit me up in the comments below!