Christopher Robin is an American fantasy comedy-drama film inspired by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard’s book Winnie the Pooh and is a live-action/CGI adaption of the Disney franchise of the same name. The film is directed by Marc Foster and written by Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy and Allison Schroedner, from a story by Greg Brooker and Mark Steven Johnson and stars Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Mark Gatiss as well as the voices of Jim Cummings and Brad Garrett.
The film follows the story of Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) who is leaving for boarding school and having to say goodbye to his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood – Winnie the Pooh (Jim Cummings), a honey-loving plush toy bear, Tigger (Jim Cummings), a toy tiger who loves to bounce on his tail like a spring, Eeyore (Brad Garett), a pessimistic toy donkey who always loses his tail, Piglet (Nick Mohammed), a diminutive toy pig who is afraid of everything, Rabbit (Peter Capaldi), a rabbit who is organised and a vegetable farmer, Kanga (Sophie Okonedo), a kind toy kangaroo, Roo (Sara Sheen), the child of Kanga and Owl (Toby Jones), a wise and jovial owl.
As Christopher grows up he endures the death of family members and the hardship of fighting in World War II, marries Evelyn (Hayley Atwell), has a daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), moves to London and becomes weighted down by his responsibilities of working as an Efficiency Manger for Winslow Luggage.
Often neglecting his family he makes the decision to spend a weekend on holiday with them but is forced to cancel his plans by his boss Giles Winslow (Mark Gatiss) who informs him that he must find a way of cutting company costs or else several members of his team will be fired the week after. Not knowing how to find a solution he finds unexpected help from his old friend Winnie The Pooh who arrives in London searching for his friends after losing them in the Hundred Acre Wood.
Director Marc Forster gives us a layered film which mixes charm and wonder beneath a melancholic surface with a strong message at its heart.
McGregor hits exactly the right balance in the way he manages to convey the innocence of Christopher beneath the hardened adult exterior. Whilst his character is a workaholic McGregor plays him in a sympathetic light which makes his story more compelling and relatable.
Christopher’s relationship with his daughter is at the forefront of the film but there is still time to flesh out his relationship with his wife Evelyn and Atwell gives a lovely performance.
The film is not afraid to show the differences between the working class and the privileged few with Gatiss playing the thoughtless and smarmy heir to the Winslow family’s company to great effect.
The CGI designs of Pooh Bear and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood are both cuddly and expressive with their respective voice actors all hitting the right notes especially Cumming’s who shows why he has been voicing Winne the Pooh and Tigger for thirty years.
Christopher Robin is a film which will delight and pull on your heartstrings in equal measure. Its messages will be more appreciated by the older viewer but whatever your age there is something for everyone to enjoy!