Movie Review: “Christopher Robin”
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, Christopher has to cancel his weekend getaway with his wife and daughter.
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 used to come through decades earlier. Once Pooh arrives in London, 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 his help even more.
The Pros & Cons
Christopher Robin (+8pts)
Evelyn Robin (-3pts)
Pooh & The Hundred Acre Wood (+8pts)
Pooh’s Friends (-3pts)
Childhood vs. Adulthood (+10pts)
Pro: Christopher Robin (+8pts)
First things first, Ewan McGregor is 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 that lost his inner child. What I did not expect was the character development that explained how he got to where he is when we meet him at the beginning of this story.
At the beginning of the movie there is a montage scene, which is maybe a minute or two long, that explains the character’s growth into adulthood. It is a very understandable progression, but what made this character so interesting was that he thinks he is happy. He thinks his daughter is happy, and that he is a fun father. Unfortunately, he is completely oblivious to the fact that his life has 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 an interesting character to follow on this journey.
Con: Evelyn Robin (-3pts)
While I know Hayley Atwell is talented, there was nothing special about this character. I get that Christopher Robin has been working a lot, but the film does not show the impact this had on Evelyn and Madeline. Due to this, I did not feel like her reaction, to Christopher working through the weekend, was justified. This ends up hurting the character of Evelyn because Christopher’s actions in this movie were respectable so 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 is clear to the audience that Christopher wanted to spend time with his family, so when Evelyn makes his life more difficult because he was trying to help others, it makes the character come across as unlikable. I understand that Christopher has probably been working a lot of late nights and weekends, and this is something that has probably been building within Evelyn for awhile, but the filmmakers did not give us that growth. Evelyn does not get the character development that was necessary to justify her reaction (to Christopher ultimately doing a good thing). She really just seemed unreasona and annoying.
Pro: Pooh (+8pts)
Pooh was so effective in this story because he embodies childhood and innocence. With the amazing vocal talent of Jim Cummings, the character adds a ton of light hearted humor through silly lines such as “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing everyday”. 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 makes this character so special is 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 does not like to have fun anymore. Christopher’s life has moved on, but Pooh is the same as he was when Christopher was a kid. Pooh serves two purposes in this movie. He is the primary comedic relief, but he is also the heart of the story. Regardless of your age, Pooh’s innocence and ignorance make him a character that is easy for audiences to enjoy. Kids will love his silliness, but adults will love his innocence and what he represents.
Con: Pooh’s Friends (-3pts)
Other than Pooh, we do not get much time with the rest of the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood. After Pooh, we probably see Eeyore the most. Voiced wonderfully by Brad Garrett, Eeyore’s depressing lines will connect with most audiences, on some level. The rest of the characters from Hundred Acre Wood get very little screentime. It is fun to see the characters when they are on screen, but not seeing more of them interacting with the real world felt like a huge missed opportunity.
Pro: Childhood vs. Adulthood (+10pts)
On the surface, this is a light hearted, silly story (primarily because of Pooh and the gang) that kids will enjoy quite a bit. However the filmmakers took it a powerful step further. This movie takes a strong look at the difference between childhood and adulthood, and it forces audiences to do the same. I am not normally one that likes bringing up “symbolism” in my reviews, but for this story, it is an important part of why I liked the movie so much.
Christopher Robin represents adulthood. He is responsible and dedicated to his success, as well as grooming his daughter to be successful. Christopher is the character that most adults will relate to. Pooh represents Christopher‘s childhood and innocence, and is the character that most kids will relate to. Seeing these two characters interacting with each other throughout this movie will have audiences wondering what the childhood versions of themselves would think if they saw themselves now. By doing this, the movie makes us see how far we have come and how much we have changed, while making us appreciate the simple things in life. This is a powerful movie for what the filmmakers were able to do with these two characters.
Con: Predictable (-4pts)
I liked this story a lot, but it was pretty easy to guess where the story was going. This movie has its share of drama but, at its core, it is a feel-good movie. What this means is, as an audience, you know that the story will wrap up all of the issues that were set up at the beginning and you know the story will wrap up those issues in a feel-good way. There is the family trouble, the work trouble, and Pooh being in the real world to distract Christopher from all of it. As a viewer, you will know how all of these things play out. It is not a huge issue, but some intrigue is lost when you know exactly how the story will end.
Grade: A- (91pts)
Christopher Robin is a light hearted story on the surface, but it takes a deep look at the differences between childhood and adulthood. Christopher Robin is a relatable character that has lost sight of what it means 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 is all given to the audience with the added flavor of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends. There is a lot of light hearted humor that focuses on the silly innocence of these characters, although Winnie-the-Pooh is the obvious focus. Due to the light hearted nature, and the fact that this is supposed to be a feel-good movie, the story ends up being pretty predictable. The story also seems to drop the ball on Evelyn Robin by not giving the character enough focus to justify her behavior. That being said, my issues with this movie were relatively minor. This is a strong movie that has a message that will connect with a lot of audiences, which makes it a movie that is definitely worth seeing.