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Review by John P Harvey
Disney’s 2018 feature-length Christopher Robin is set in Christopher’s life as a young-middle-aged adult – played with quiet conviction by Ewan McGregor – some 30 years after A.A. Milne’s four wonderful books about the Hundred Acre Wood, its inhabitants, and their adventures (all illustrated with Ernest H. Shepard’s charming line drawings).
You needn’t have read those in order for this tale from Christopher’s life after childhood to move you to shed a tear or two; but those with memories will find them honoured by the film.
Winnie the Pooh has waited for Christopher Robin to return from boarding school for such a time that Christopher has since grown up, fought for his country in WWII, and returned to become a luggage manufacturer’s Efficiency Manager. He is also husband to Evelyn and father to Madeline, now seven.
Sacrificing yet another weekend with Evelyn and Madeline, who journey without him to his childhood home, Christopher remains in urban London in order to find cost cuts that will save the jobs of the company’s loyal staff — and that’s when Pooh, alarmed at discovering that all of his other friends have gone missing, finally walks through the door to seek Christopher Robin, who has come to believe that his childhood animal friends were mere fantasies.
Despite his obligations to the company’s future, and with his own job at stake, Christopher is nonetheless finally obliged to help Pooh find their missing friends, and thereby rediscovers the centrality of relationships in his life through the simple wisdom by which the “bear of little brain” lives.
Taking some hilarious turns as the reality of these talking stuffed toys impinges on the pedestrian world, Christopher Robin creates an original Pooh tale enchanting to viewers of all ages. Beautiful acting, moody-yet-captivating visuals of postwar Britain, and Pooh’s innocent observations combine to take the viewer on a journey of the heart that will likely leave a delighted smile on the face.
And it’s well served by viewing on the large screen. Don’t miss it. And be sure to stay for the credits.