Christopher Robin review: melancholic twist down Winnie the Pooh memory lane

Ewan McGregor in Christopher Robin.
Ewan McGregor in Christopher Robin.

IN our nostalgia-obsessed times, Christopher Robin gives us a melancholic twist in its trip down Winnie The Pooh lane.

Opening with a downbeat 20-odd minutes, young Christopher Robin says goodbye to his childhood friends and stuffed animals Winnie The Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Owl and Rabbit before going to boarding school.

An extended montage over the opening credits charts his subsequent hardships: a death in the family and fighting in the war.

As an adult (Ewan McGregor), he marries Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and has a child Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), but the high pressure of his job at a suitcase manufacturer takes over his adulthood and puts a strain on his family.

Winnie The Pooh resurfacing and making contact could not have come at worse time – or could it?

Anyone expecting Disney’s signature bright, cheery and heart-warming tone may be left sighing “oh, bother”.

This is less for the ankle biters and more for those who grew up with the honey-loving bear.

Christopher Robin gets off to a slow, gloomy start – a sad goodbye between friends, a death, war and job pressures – then explores the loss of child-like innocence before it decides to have a bit of farcical fun.

The film is also drained of any vibrant colours, keeping the London scenes so muted that any potential flash of bright red or blue could feel blinding.

What it does do is go against expectations and makes the toys real that everyone can see and hear, not just exclusively in Robin’s imagination.

This approach makes it such a curiosity piece that it is worth checking out based on that alone – that and McGregor’s committed performance.

THE ESSENTIALS

Christopher Robin (PG)

Directed by: Marc Forster

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael

Three and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright

In cinemas September 13