CHRISTOPHER ROBIN — Review by Susan Granger

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Clarification: this Christopher Robin bears only a superficial resemblance to Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017) about the resentful, real-life son of A.A. Milne. Don’t confuse them. As the live-action story begins, young Christopher Robin (Orton O’Brien) is in the Hundred-Acre Wood, bidding farewell to his friends – Pooh Bear, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga and Baby Roo – before departing for boarding school, announcing: “I’m not going to do nothing anymore.” Continue reading…

Years pass. He goes off to war, marries Evelyn (Hayley Atwell), gets a flat in London and has a lovely daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael). That’s really a prologue.

Now middle-aged Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) works as efficiency manager for a luggage company that’s losing money, so he’s forced to cancel an eagerly anticipated family weekend at their cottage in Sussex.

The angst of disappointing Evelyn and Madeline precipitates an emotional crisis, as Pooh Bear squeezes through a hollow tree and magically appears in a London park, seeking Christopher Robin’s help in finding their animal friends who seem to have disappeared.

Along the way, Christopher Robin re-discovers what’s really important in life and reconnects with his family.

Utilizing A.A. Milne’s imaginative characters, it’s based on a story by Gregg Booker & Mark Steven Johnson and simplistically scripted by Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarth and Allison Schroeder. Too bad they devote so much screen time to a pesky neighbor and the frantic car chase to the luggage company.

After helming “Finding Neverland,” director Marc Forster has had plenty of experience combining real-life actors with CGI, shifting tones and adeptly utilizing the voices of Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Toby Jones, etc.

FYI: British author A.A. Milne published his first Winnie the Pooh story on Dec. 24, 1925 in the London Evening News; the Hundred-Acre Wood was based on Ashdown Forest near his home in East Sussex, and the name Winnie referenced a famous bear in the London zoo.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Christopher Robin is a sweet, sentimental 7, a low-key, feel-good family film.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.