Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael
Director: Marc Forster
Running Time: 104 mins
Christopher Robin is an American film following Pooh and his friends as they reunite with their old friend Christopher Robin, years after their adventures in the Hundred-Acre Wood and with Christopher all grown up.
There are few films that have made me smile or feel as deeply happy as this one. With a beautifully crafted atmosphere throughout that plays brilliantly on childhood nostalgia, Christopher Robin is a film that will really make you feel all fuzzy and warm inside, impressing from start to finish with a truly delightful family adventure that should prove fun for kids, but prove even more touching for older viewers.
And that’s what I want to start off with on this film, the fact that it feels like it’s designed for older viewers, rather than the typical sub-10 year old audience of most Disney movies. Of course, it’s a family-friendly film, and it’s as sweet, silly and fun as you could hope, so young children will easily have a wonderful time with it, however there’s a real sense of deeper emotion and drama that pervades throughout, and it’s all aimed at those of us with a deep nostalgia for our childhood.
What’s most striking is how the film starts off on such a starkly bittersweet note, with a young Christopher Robin bidding farewell to Pooh and his friends before he’s sent off to boarding school, and that sense of bittersweet drama stays at the centre of the movie for the best part of forty minutes, as we see Christopher Robin grow up and turn into a serious, boring adult who forgets all about the bliss and joy of playing as a young child.
The film does rather hammer that idea home a little too much, with the screenplay forcibly reminding you of how dull an adult Christopher Robin has become, and Ewan McGregor’s performance coming off as a little too wooden to be really believable.
However, it’s a powerful premise that captured my attention right from the start, and the film does a brilliant job in the later acts, when we see Christopher Robin reunite with Pooh, at showing just how wonderful the blissful nature of childhood can be.
It’s a premise that I was thoroughly engrossed by, and, always one for a big dosage of childhood nostalgia, I was even tearing up far more than I expected as we see a man’s childhood come flooding back in incredible and vivid fashion. In that, while there is fun to be had here for young children, there is undoubtedly a lot more to get out of the film for viewers with a strong childhood nostalgia.
What’s more is that if you’ve got a lot of nostalgia for Winnie The Pooh (particularly the Disney incarnation), then you’ll be utterly smitten with this film from the start. Just hearing Jim Cummings’ voice as Pooh is enough to melt your heart again and again and again, but with the inclusion of all the old characters, and countless references to The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh, those (like me) with a love for the story and the characters will have a hard time resisting the sheer delightfulness of this movie.
Moving on from just talking about nostalgia, there are some other real positives in this movie, the biggest of which comes in the form of its visuals. Disney’s live-action movies have been real triumphs over the last few years, and it’s the exquisite attention to detail in the visuals that really make them come alive, with the stunning CGI of The Jungle Book and the beautiful costumes of Beauty And The Beast leaving a strong impression even when the rest of the film may not have been as revolutionary.
As this film mostly takes place in the real world, you may be wondering where the same vivid visuals would come from. Well, apart from the truly exquisite costume and production design to portray London in the 1940s, the film is bathed in a light sepia tone that gives it a wonderful rustic quality – something that again adds to the nostalgia value – and the animation of Pooh and his friends, appearing as a group of old cuddly toys rather than hyper-realistic animals, is just the icing on the cake in making this a truly delightful piece.
There’s so much that I loved about Christopher Robin, and the only downside would be that I think those who are watching the film without such a fervour for childhood nostalgia or a love for Winnie The Pooh may find themselves a little bored, as nothing much happens storywise apart from that until the final act, where we get a delightful, albeit simple, adventure finale that sees Pooh and friends going to save Christopher Robin.
Overall, though, I really don’t think there’s any way you couldn’t adore Christopher Robin. It’s a film with so much joy at its heart, bringing back so many memories for those of us that are filled with childhood nostalgia, as well as a fun and sweet story that’s entertaining and surprisingly emotional throughout, not to mention the return of some of the most wonderful characters you’ll ever see on the big screen, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7.