The other day my girlfriend and I went to see the film Christopher Robin, all about the titular character outgrowing his friends in the 100 acre wood, and slowly finding his way back to childhood. After leaving the movie close to tears (my girlfriend did cry multiple times), here was my one line review:
The entire movie was super predictable, but it was so well-done and moving that I didn’t even care.
Just as a bit of context, I’ve had a Teddy bear for my entire life. Cleverly named Ted, he’s been a mainstay, so I can connect with the imagination and the meaning the characters had in this film. I brought my girlfriend onto the stuffed animal bandwagon right when we started dating, so she has a similar disposition. Those who don’t find joy in these lovely little toys may not be as intrigued by the movie.
I started this review at first by writing a plot summary. I don’t think that’s particularly useful for anyone though. Suffice it to say that some shenanigans ensue, some caused by Pooh and some by Christopher Robin’s own stubbornness. When it comes down to it, Pooh and friends are able to help Christopher find himself again, and help his entire family join back together as a stronger unit.
The first thing I noticed was the choice made to design the stuffed animals in a certain way. Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo were all given a clear felt texture. They looked like an era-specific stuffed animal that happened to also be living. Pooh, as the main character, was given a different look. He was still stuffed, had rounded hands and feet that had no real business grabbing onto some of the things Pooh gets into, but he had a more real texture. There was clear fuzz on his body. He was made a bit differently, that made him more catching to the eye. It was an adorable choice, making him more endearing than he was in the books. The only mistakes were Owl and Hare. Perhaps I’m not remembering the books correctly, but they looked like CGI animals that talked. No stuffed aspect to them, just normal animals. Perhaps that’s why they did not get to participate in entering the real world.
The performance by Ewan McGregor was fantastic. Clean-shaven, he was able to pull off every age he was asked to play, and had the firmness and whimsy necessary to play both the stiff-upper-lip father, and the goofy young man who reenters at the end. Evelyn (played by Hayley Atwell) was also great. You could really see the strength she gained while Christopher was off in the war, and how firm she could be when Christopher was getting into work too much. Madelyn had about two weaker moments, but was otherwise excellent.
I was overwhelmed by this movie. I knew I wanted to see it, and knew it was right down my alley, yet it still exceeded my expectations. It was fun, cute, sad, and exciting. I highly recommend it.