Hitting us right in the nostalgia bone, Christopher Robin is a seemingly cold film with a massively warm heart. Despite a fairly bog-standard plot, the film saves itself with adorable performances from lovable heroes.
Ewan McGregor helms the movie, but isn’t the overall star. Of course, its Winnie The Pooh that is the standout role, voiced beautifully by long time Pooh voice-man Jim Cummings. His voice is clearly older and less bouncy, but adds a beautiful warmth to the film. There is an overarching melancholy to the film that is heightened by Eeyore, and it is this tone that enables the most emotional moments to hit. By using a bleak colour pallet and soft, underplayed dialogue, the film manages to tug strongly at heartstrings.
Unfortunately, the film’s story is less than beautiful. It features a plethora of overused tropes and the ending is immediately predictable. What’s stranger is that the film doesn’t seem to know if it’s a kids film or not. Granted, many of the scenes feature cute slapstick with the animals, but there is also a lot of quiet drama. Board meetings and domestic fallouts are not what appeal to kids, and you could feel the restlessness in the cinema during these scenes. Also confusing was the whole mythology of Pooh and his friends. It could have been assumed that they were Christopher’s imaginary friends growing up, but bringing them into the real world seemed an odd choice, and once everyone started noticing them, the magic began to be lost.
However, it’s the film’s message that makes it work overall. Just as Paddington warmed hearts several years ago with his message of love and happiness, so too does Christopher Robin warn of the dangers of losing your fun side. It’s a sweet image that all Pooh wants to do is play, and though the film doesn’t point out that work is sometimes a necessary evil, it is always lovely to watch a cold-hearted character’s redemption as he realises the importance of his family.
This film is a definite tear jerker, with its themes of growing up and losing your childhood looming throughout. While the plot is cliché and forgettable, the characters are so utterly heartwarming that you almost don’t care.