Christopher Robin: Film Review

I was surprised when Christopher Robin was released so soon after the release of other Pooh film Goodbye Christopher Robin, which I loved. Thankfully they are very different pieces – Goodbye was a realistic biopic about author AA Milne, his Winnie-the-Pooh creation and his relationship with his son Christopher, whereas the Disney version is pure fantasy which isn’t as effective.

Ewan McGregor stars as Christopher, who is now grown up and married to Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and they have a daughter named Madeline (Bronte Carmichael). He is very stressed as he has to make cuts at work and cancel a family holiday to save his employees. He no longer knows how to have fun and be silly and always puts work first, so his relationship with his wife and daughter is suffering. One day, his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh magically appears in London from Hundred Acre Wood and helps him recapture his sense of imagination.

There are many things that I loved about Christopher Robin, but it definitely wasn’t the central premise and the characterisation of the central character. It’s annoying that Robin needed Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and co. to make him kind, fun and spare time for his family. The about-turn didn’t seem believeable either – the character at the start and end are two extremely different people, and he quickly went from being a miserable chap to messing about in the woods. Also, his realisations about the importance of family and how he’d treated them were hammered home in a pretty heavy-handed manner.

Everything is OK if you focus on Pooh, which I did. I loved him so much and he made me laugh a lot. His reunion with Christopher and the sequences shortly after were my favourites. The CGI was incredible (same for all the animals, although they looked different to what I was expecting) and Jim Cummings did spectacular voice work, really making me feel for that bear. I connected with him the most!

McGregor was reliably good as Christopher and worked really hard to convince us the animals are really there. Sadly, Atwell had nothing to do and was reduced to a simple wife and mother role, which was a shame as she is capable of so much more. Carmichael was adorable and very much a sympathetic character. The other voice actors – including Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo and Toby Jones – were perfect.

Be warned that this is a fantasy and from Disney, so it is about the fictional characters and a fictional version of Christopher, who notoriously resented the Pooh books, which led to a strained relationship with his father in real life. His wife and daughter also had different names. I really recommend you watch the other release for a more unflinching take on the Pooh story.

The film was a lovely watch and really warmed up my heart, watching Pooh being reunited with his beloved Christopher. It’s super cute and there were plenty of opportunities for laughs and it is visually beautiful, so it’s a shame about the central character and his arc.

Special fundraising previews on Thursday 16th August. General release on Friday 17th August 

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