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Movie Review: “Christopher Robin”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Christopher Robin

Theatrical release: 8/3/2018

Theatrical release: 8/3/2018

Synopsis

Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is at a very difficult point in his career. The company he works for is facing financial hardship and Christopher’s team is facing potential layoffs. He has been tasked by his boss to work through the weekend to find places in the budget to cut costs. If he cannot save the company enough money, many of his employees will be let go. If that was not stressful enough, this weekend work has forced Christopher to cancel his weekend getaway with his wife (Hayley Atwell) and daughter, and his wife had already been frustrated with the amount of hours he had been putting in at work.

Meanwhile, in Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie-the-Pooh (Jim Cummings) has woken up to find that all of his friends are missing. He searches everywhere, and when he finds no one, he decides to go through the door that Christopher Robin once used to enter the Hundred Acre Wood decades earlier. Once Pooh arrives in London, but he discovers that Christopher Robin is much different than when he last left the Hundred Acre Wood. Christopher Robin has grown up. He has a wife, a child that he hardly spends time with, a job that keeps him busy, and he no longer has the time or desire to play. Pooh needs Christopher’s help to find his friends, but Christopher may need Pooh's help even more.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Christopher Robin (+8pts)

Evelyn Robin (-3pts)

Pooh & The Hundred Acre Wood (+8pts)

Pooh’s Friends (-3pts)

Childhood vs. Adulthood (+10pts)

Predictable (-4pts)

movie-review-christopher-robin

Pro: Christopher Robin (+8pts)

Ewan McGregor was great. He was very charismatic and relatable in this movie, so it was easy to get sucked into this story and invested in the titular character. I went into this movie with the expectation that Christopher Robin would be a grumpy adult who had lost his inner child. What I did not expect was the character development that explained how he got to where he was, and the understandable pressures that he was under when we meet him at the beginning of this story.

At the beginning of the movie there was a montage scene, which was maybe a minute or two long, that explained the character’s growth into adulthood. It was a very understandable progression, but what made this character so interesting was that he thought he was happy. He thought his daughter was happy, and that he was a fun father. Unfortunately, he was completely oblivious to the fact that his life had actually become void of happiness. It makes you wonder what the childhood version of yourself would think of your life now. Christopher was kind, but he was blind, which made him in desperate need for Pooh's help, and it made him an interesting character to follow on this journey.

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Con: Evelyn Robin (-3pts)

While I know Hayley Atwell is talented, there was nothing special about this character. I get that Christopher Robin had been working a lot, but the filmmakers did not show the impact this had on Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and Madeline (Bronte Carmichael). Due to this, I did not feel like her reaction to Christopher working through the weekend was justified. This ended up hurting the character of Evelyn, because Christopher’s actions in this movie were noble and respectable, so it made Evelyn comes across as ignorant and selfish. Christopher’s job was not at stake, yet he sacrificed his weekend getaway with his wife and daughter in order to save other people’s jobs. It was clear to the audience that Christopher wanted to spend time with his family, so when Evelyn made his life more difficult—he already felt the weight of everyone else's jobs on his back—it made the character come across as pretty unreasonable and entitled.

I understand that Christopher had probably been working a lot of late nights and weekends, and this was something that had probably been building within Evelyn for awhile, but the filmmakers did not give us that growth. It was also clear that the company he worked for was facing hard times, and his extra hours were to help keep the company afloat, so that he still had a job to provide for the family he very clearly cared for. I would have understood Evelyn's behavior if Christopher was depicted as some aloof, neglectful father and husband, but that was very clearly not who Christopher Robin was. He was a man who felt the pressure to provide for his family, and he was a man who took on the responsibility of helping others provide for theirs. With that in mind, I thought Evelyn treated him incredibly unfairly, and it showed that she was completely ignorant to what he was doing.

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Pro: Pooh (+8pts)

Pooh was so effective in this story because he embodied childhood and innocence. With the amazing vocal talent of Jim Cummings, the character added a ton of light hearted humor in the otherwise tragic story of Christopher Robin. Pooh is the kind of character that speaks as though he is wise, but he really has no idea what he is talking about. What made this character work so well in this movie specifically was his adoration for Christopher Robin and his lack of understanding of Christopher’s adult life.

It was a lot of fun to see Pooh trying to comprehend things like work, employees, briefcases, and why Christopher Robin did not like to have fun anymore. Christopher’s life had moved on, but Pooh was the same as he was when Christopher was a kid. Pooh served two purposes in this movie. His silliness made him the primary comedic relief, and he was an effective one, but he was also the heart of the story due to his child-like innocence and how much he cared about Christopher's happiness. Regardless of your age, Pooh’s innocence make him a character that is easy for audiences to enjoy, and this movie was no exception. Kids will love his silliness, and adults will love his innocence.

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Con: Pooh’s Friends (-3pts)

Other than Pooh, we did not get much time with the rest of the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood. After Pooh, we probably saw Eeyore the most who—wonderfully by Brad Garrett—Eeyore’s delivered hilariously depressing lines that will connect with most audiences, on some level. The rest of the characters from Hundred Acre Wood got very little screentime. It was fun to see the characters when they were on screen, but not seeing more of them interacting with the real world felt like a huge missed opportunity.

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Pro: Childhood vs. Adulthood (+10pts)

On the surface, this was a light hearted, silly story. This was primarily because of Pooh and the gang, and kids will enjoy it quite a bit. However, the filmmakers took it a powerful step further with what they had to say about adulthood. This movie took a strong look at the difference between childhood and adulthood, and it forced its audience to do the same.

Christopher Robin represented adulthood. He was a responsible adult, and he was dedicated to his success, as well as grooming his daughter to be successful. Pooh represented childhood and innocence, and he was the character that most kids will relate to. Seeing these two characters interacting with one another throughout this movie will have adult audiences wondering what the childhood versions of themselves would think if they saw themselves now. By doing this, the movie made us take a look at our own lives, making us appreciate the things we have and reminding us to have as much fun as we can while we are here. This movie had the comedy that you would expect from Winnie the Pooh, but the filmmakers also managed to make an impactful statement about childhood, adulthood, and life in general.

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Con: Predictable (-4pts)

I liked this story a lot, but it was pretty easy to guess where it was going. This movie had its share of drama, but at its core, it was a feel-good movie. This meant that you will know that the story will wrap up all of the issues it introduced in the beginning of the story, and you will know it will do so in a feel-good way. There was the family trouble, there was the work trouble, and there was Pooh being in the real world to distract Christopher from all of it. As a viewer, you will know how all of these things will play out. It was not a huge issue, because the movies’ strengths more than made up for it, but this story was definitely a predictable one.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

movie-review-christopher-robin

Grade: A- (91pts)

Christopher Robin was a light hearted story on the surface, but the filmmakers took a deep, impactful look at the differences between childhood and adulthood. Christopher Robin was a relatable character that had lost sight of what it meant to be happy. This will hit home with a lot of audiences as it sheds light on how much we change when we grow up. We all know what this is like to some extent and that what we once saw as “boring adult stuff” has now become an integral part of our daily life. Fun used to be all we cared about, but that simple mindset fades when we grow up.

This was all given to the audience with the added flavor of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends. There was a lot of light hearted humor that focused on the silly innocence of these characters. One downside of the movie was that, due to the light hearted nature of the story, and that it was obviously going to have a feel-good ending, the story ended up being pretty predictable. The story also seemed to drop the ball on Evelyn Robin, by never really justifying her behavior. That being said, my issues with this movie were relatively minor. This was a strong movie that had a message that will connect with a lot of audiences, which made it a movie that I definitely think is worth seeing.