RATED PG | 4 stars
“There’s always time for a smackeral of wonder.” —Pooh
I grew up with Winnie the Pooh. I had his books, his movies, my sisters’ rooms were decorated with the cute blankets, pillows, and plushes. I (half) jokingly say that Pooh is my Spirit Animal. I love all things Pooh (except the movie that came out a couple years ago and the weird TV show with a balloon-looking Heffalump helping Pooh solve mysteries. Those are not Pooh.) So, it was with trepidation that I went to see Christopher Robin. I’d read good reviews, but I was afraid it wouldn’t hold to what I know of Pooh.
But that wonderful trailer, complete with Jim Cummings’ iconic voice telling Christopher “Hi” melted my heart and drew me into the theater. I admit, it was a little weird having Pooh not be a flat animated drawing, but the stuffed animal portrayal brought a good dimension. This was a movie made for those of us who grew up with Pooh and are facing the real world where stuffed animals, little friends, and simple pleasures are not our priorities.
It takes us to a world where a normal man who wants nothing more than to love his wife and daughter is trapped in the rat race that life can sometimes feel like. Times were hard, his job wanted every moment of his time, energy, and focus. It shaped his way of thinking so he failed to see the little things his daughter loved and was focused on her doing things that would “help her in life.” He gets tasked with finding a way to cut costs (and possibly fire his friends) over the weekend that he was supposed to take his daughter and wife to the cottage he grew up in. So, again, he has to let them go without him.
Meanwhile, Pooh got himself separated from his friends and needed help. His need drew him to the person he trusted implicitly: Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor)—all grown up and feeling like a failure professionally and personally.
“No, no no! This can’t be happening! It’s stress!”
“But it’s not stress. It’s Pooh.”
“Oh, I don’t see any cracks. A few wrinkles, maybe.”
Christopher Robin has lived so long in the black and white world of industry that he has entirely forgotten the bear he swore he’d never forget, “even when I’m a hundred.” He has forgotten the simple joys of unsticking his stuck bear, soothing Piglet’s anxieties, and re-pinning on Eeyore’s tail. He forgot about watching sticks float on the water and playing in the leaves or escaping honey bees. His whole life has turned into meeting the demands of his job and society’s expectations, and he expects his family to follow that as well.
Then back pops his trusty old Bear who shakes up his life again. And off on an adventure they go—to put Pooh back in the Hundred Acre Wood and to find the others. On the way, they hear Heffalumps, get turned around in circles in the murky wood, and, eventually, reunite with old friends… Who helpfully unpack and repack his briefcase of important things.
After Christopher goes back, Pooh realizes that Christopher will need his papers that were relegated “unimportant” by Tigger and Piglet. So they start an adventure to find him, then stumble across Christopher’s daughter Madeline. Madeline runs off with her father’s stuffed friends and rushes to help him, causing her parents loads of panic.
The movie was alternately lighthearted and fun and incredibly emotional. This movie was not written for children—it was written for the children inside the grown-up folks. It was written for those of us who have forgotten the joys of a red balloon and the fact that that work will never fulfill us like relationships will. It was written for those of us eaten alive by society’s idea that we are only worth what we give back.
While not being written for children, it is definitely child-friendly. There was no language or anything questionable, and it is lighthearted enough for kids to enjoy.
It is a precious walk down memory lane, a way to re-live as an adult the joys that Pooh brought us as kids. If you never watched Pooh, it probably won’t mean quite as much, but it is still a fun movie. If you grew up with Pooh, it may bring you back to the lighter days of childhood while reminding you that you can have a childlike heart and still be grown up.
Brianna is a manager at her favorite childhood bookstore. She is likely to be found curled up with a book and her black cat, Bear, talking to a stranger, dancing outside in a thunderstorm, singing Disney songs while making cookies, or snuggling her best friend's baby while drinking coffee. Her heart is fueled by the desire to help people find their unique wings and use them in whatever capacity God has created them for. She is passionate about seeing and finding Christ in the secular world wherever she can.