Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh. A boy and his bear. The best of friends who have enchanted children and adults the world over with their adventures for generations. Theirs is a timeless story and now director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Quantum of Solace) is ready to take audiences back to the world of the Hundred Acre Woods in Christopher Robin….and it is one of the loveliest films I’ve ever seen.
Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor), the little boy from the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, is now all grown up and has lost all sense of imagination. Finding it difficult to connect with his loving wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell), Christopher’s best friend Pooh and his friends re-enter Christopher’s life to help him find it again.
This new story changes things up a bit and while all of our favorite characters are here including Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, Owl and of course Christopher, they’re all ready for a brand new adventure.
We begin the film with the young Christopher who soon grows up and has to contend with the realities of what the world has to offer: both the good and the bad. While he does experience the joys of life such as falling in love with his wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and raising their daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael) together, Christopher has also suffered through having to face the horrors of the Second World War and now finds all sense of meaning stripped from his life in a job and a world he can no longer make sense of.
But when you’re down and you can’t seem to find the sun that’s when you need your friends by your side….and Christopher has a few he can most certainly count on.
In Christopher Robin, Forster creates a film that honours the spirit of A.A. Milne’s classic stories and the world that he built and he is able to take what we know and love and chart a bold new direction with its material. Ewan McGregor was the perfect pick for the lead and he really helps to bring the world to life. Not only does he share great chemistry with Atwell, but he’s got a wonderful boyish quality to him and this really shines through in his performance. Most importantly however you completely buy into the deeply felt friendship and love that he and Pooh share for one another.
In addition to getting some stunning lead performances, Forster also opens up the world of the Hundred Acre Wood and it really is a grand old place. This majestic landscape is magnificently captured thanks to the cinematography of Matthias Koenigswieser and this world is rendered with a beautiful aesthetic that takes its look and feel from classic English design.
Throughout the film there’s a running theme that sometimes you have to go back in order to go forwards. Just like Christopher, Pooh himself feels lost and alone and in desperate need of a friend and through circumstance and pure magic these two find each other again and a new adventure of healing and fun begins.
One thing that really struck me with Christopher Robin was how much Forster and his team invested in the underlying mindfulness principles that are present throughout the Winnie the Pooh stories. As a character Pooh has always had a sage like quality to him and has an ability to offer simple, yet extremely thoughtful musing that have a profound effect on those around him. These philosophical phrases are expertly captured here and as an audience member I can tell you that they really sink in.
To Pooh the world is a relatively simple place and there’s plenty of comforts to be enjoyed. Whether it’s taking a leisurely stroll, eating honey or simply playing with a balloon, all of these activities are important things to do and they absolutely do wonders for your soul. For Pooh the solution is simply to enjoy what the world has to offer because there are so many amazing things to explore.
If I were to use a word to describe Christopher Robin then it would most definitely be heartwarming. This film sprinkles joy like fairy dust at every moment and Pooh is always performing some kind of action that will bring a smile to your face or leave you giggling with laughter. Joy, happiness and love flow through this film and you’ll be feeling all sorts of warm fuzzy’s by the end.
Christopher Robin will leave a smile on your face, make your heart flutter and open you up to the magic of the Hundred Acre Wood. It simply is the loveliest film and as Pooh would say “it’s always a sunny day when Christopher Robin comes to play’.
Image: Walt Disney Pictures