Christopher Robin (2018)

Christopher Robin
Director: Marc Forster
Writer: Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, Allison Schroeder, Greg Brooker, Mark Steven Johnson
Based on: A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard‘s characters
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Mark Gatiss, Oliver Ford Davies, Ronke Adekoluejo, Adrian Scarborough, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Ken Nwosu, John Dagleish, Amanda Lawrence, Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Nick Mohammed, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo, Sara Sheen, Toby Jones
Seen on: 5.9.2018

Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is all grown up. He has a wife, Evelyn (Hayley Atwell), and a daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael). But above all, he has a job that keeps him very, very busy. Right now, the company he works for needs to lay people off and Christopher has one weekend to figure out who to fire. So when his childhood friend and teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh (Jim Cummings) suddenly appears and asks him to come back to the 100-acre-wood, it couldn’t come at a worse time. It’s time for Christopher to get his priorities straight.

Christopher Robin is a film on a mission and with a message, everything else takes a backseat to that. But in the end it gets tied up so much in its message that it manages to completely undermine it.

The film poster showing Ewan McGregor with Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore.

Christopher Robin starts off pretty critical of capitalism: Christopher works as an efficiency manager and his boss demands ever more efficient designs from him for less money and with less staff and Christopher suffers for it. He also works so hard, his family suffers for that – and that’s no good either. When Pooh turns up, he’s a reminder for Christopher to focus on what’s important: family and imagination and love.

So far, so good! We can use more films that criticize capitalism and the way it ruins people. Capitalism sucks! The thing is, in the end what Christopher Robin comes up with a plan that brings his company more profit and doesn’t need him to fire people. That twist means that the criticism of capitalism as a system falls apart completely. People, then, don’t need imagination and humane treatment for themselves. No, if you treat people well, they’ll make more profit, they become better workers and that’s why happy workers are important: Happy workers are good workers. It was completely unbearable to see them self-sabotage like that.

Ewan McGregor and Winnie-the-Pooh in the film.

Add to that the film treats its (few) female characters like shit, and it becomes clear that the film doesn’t have the heart that the original Pooh-stories do – and that I would have needed to make the film work.

Nevertheless, the film does have its lovely parts. McGregor is charming as always (even if Christopher remains flat as a character) and seeing Pooh and his friends animated so realistically is quite a treat. They are also cute as fuck (Tigger 4eva, if you ask me). But ultimately, the film remains half-hearted and slightly disappointing.

Tigger, Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet and Bronte Carmichael in the film.

Summarizing: meh.

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