One Hundred Plus One Day: Disney’s ‘Christopher Robin’ Spinoff Hits Home

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Paige Townsend, Category Editor

The reimagination of a classic children’s story— and even classic movies— is no easy feat. For the first time in quite a while, Disney truly wowed me with one of its older stories remade as live action. As so many others have fallen flat (looking at you, “Jungle Book”), I did not have the highest hopes for “Christopher Robin.” However, what made this movie successful was that Disney did not simply try to reboot the same worn-out story, but instead added new dimensions to the timelessness of Winnie the Pooh.


Starting with Christopher Robin’s (Ewan McGregor) childhood, the beginning of the movie is largely a timeline of his carefree days in the Hundred Acre Woods, then swiftly moves onwards to his attendance at boarding school, marriage, and eventual involvement in World War II. A jaded, middle-aged businessman at a failing luggage company, Christopher Robin has no time for his family, and declines to join his wife and daughter on a weekend outing to the countryside— until a familiar face from his childhood shows up unexpectedly and reminds him of what is important in life.


As Christopher Robin journeys to Sussex, England, to restore Winnie the Pooh to his proper home, he reunites with his old friends, all of whom play a vital role in his remembrance of who he once was. The movie focused on morals that could seem childlike or unrealistic, such as “doing nothing often leads to the best of something,” but it was lessons such as these that taught Robin not to let life pass him by, and that difficult problems can often be solved with simple solutions. Subtle yet poignant, the movie to rose above clichés that one might expect, delivering a message without feeling “preachy.”


The character development was a delight to watch; the more time he spent with his old Hundred Acre Woods friends, the more his uptight stiffness melted away. Christopher Robin’s character reached a peak with his triumphant defeat of a “Heffalump,” much to the relief of his friends. At first skeptical of Robin’s identity, they were able to realize that he was the same young boy from over 30 years ago. The sweet dialogue shared between Christopher Robin and Pooh was touching without feeling heart-wrenching, tender without feeling sickly-sweet.


What I found to be most interesting was the relationship between the Hundred Acre Woods characters and Christopher Robin’s daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael). It is established early on in the movie that her father is somewhat controlling, having her study instead of play, and insisting that she be sent away to boarding school in the near future. Although Madeline is not introduced to Pooh and the others until the second half of the movie, they still manage to weave their subtle, whimsical magic, and guiding her to realize that she is missing the same thing her father is: the ability to let loose.


While there were admittedly a few parts that dragged a bit, Disney ultimately outdid themselves with “Christopher Robin.” This movie shines among the half-dozen, half-baked recent live action Disney movies, and will likely go on to be a classic akin to the original.