Christopher Robin, the young boy who used to play in the Hundred Acre Wood with his pals Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet, is all grown up in this nostalgic tale that will bring a tear to the eye of any adults who grew up reading AA Milne’s classic stories.
Married to Evelyn (Atwell) and father to Madeline (Carmichael), Christopher works hard at a luggage company in London and rarely thinks of his childhood friends. But they have never stopped thinking about him, so when Pooh (voiced by Jim Cummings) wakes up one morning and can’t find any of his fluffy pals, he goes to a very surprised Christopher for help. Stressed at work because he is having to cut costs – or staff – to appease his unreasonable boss (Gatiss), Christopher doesn’t have time for Pooh’s childish pursuits, but the reluctant journey with his childhood bear may help him remember what is really important.
Like Steven Spielberg’s Hook, this is all about a man finding his inner child, and while the sentiment will be lost on kids watching for the cuddly animals, it’s touching for grown-ups and Christopher’s conflicted work/home life is nicely played by McGregor.
The movie looks lovely, has some nice dialogue and terrific performances (though would have been ever better with more screen time for Atwell and Carmichael) but the problem is that it’s really a movie of two halves. The melancholic story of Christopher morphs into more of a family adventure with shades of Paddington as young Madeline meets her dad’s toy pals and transports them to London, getting into a few scrapes along the way.
Kids will love the second half – and the stunning computer animation that brings Pooh, Eeyore and co to life – but will fidget through a beginning that’s just a bit too sombre for this to be considered family entertainment. Like Goodbye Christopher Robin and Finding Neverland, Christopher Robin is best enjoyed by adults who fondly remember the stories, rather than little viewers who are discovering Pooh and friends for the first time.
Is Christopher Robin suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
There are no scary moments but parents should note that parts of the movie are sad, and younger children may be upset at how strained the relationship between Christopher and his daughter seems at the start of the movie.
There is a brief flashback to Christopher Robin fighting in the war but it is not very graphic.
Very young children may be frightened when Pooh explores the woods and they are dark and foggy, and also when Christopher falls into the Heffalump trap.
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