Christopher Robin

Christopher Robin

2018, PG, 104 min. Directed by Marc Forster. Voices by Jim Cummings, Toby Jones, Sophie Okonedo, Brad Garrett, Peter Capaldi. Starring Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Mark Gatiss.

REVIEWED By Richard Whittaker, Fri., Aug. 10, 2018

Like Winnie the Pooh finding his own footprints in the snow, Christopher Robin ambles on the heels of 2017's more historically accurate Goodbye Christopher Robin. But where that first film followed the real boy who was the inspiration for A.A. Milne's childhood classics, this is the Christopher Robin of the book (McGregor), all grown up in post-World War II Britain, with a wife (Agent Carter's Atwell, seemingly born to wear tweed) and daughter (Carmichael, hewing out her own midcentury niche after small parts in Darkest Hour and On Chesil Beach). Yet while he superficially seems fine, there's something missing in his life, a certain something that possibly a certain bear might be able to help him find. Not that Pooh (voiced, as for the last 30 years, by Jim Cummings), is always that much help. But here he is, a bear of very little brain, in the middle of London, willing to lend a paw. After all, as he once very wisely said, you can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.

It's a seeming change of pace for Spotlight director Tom McCarthy to take script duties here, but makes complete sense in the context of Disney handing beloved musical oddity Pete's Dragon over to the equally unexpected David Lowery for a refresh. The script also in part comes from another unexpected source: lo-fi indie darling Alex Ross Perry, previously most famous for divisive festival fare like The Color Wheel, or depictions of thoroughly unlikable protagonists like Listen Up Philip. But then this Christopher Robin is simply an ordinary boy who had some extraordinary friends, and then grew up to be a very ordinary man who is having a very difficult time balancing his work and family life, and it will take reuniting with his old friends to get that all back on track.

And that's where the true magic of Christopher Robin lies. It's not that Pooh suddenly, magically reappears out of nowhere: he's been off, doing bearish things. When Christopher Robin left, Pooh, and Piglet, and Kanga, and Roo, and Owl, and Rabbit were still in the Hundred Acre Wood, still being themselves, and the inevitable happy ending comes because Christopher Robin returns to the logic of his childhood.

While the voice talent makes clear nods to the Disney adaptations of the Sixties (with particular plaudits to Brad Garrett for capturing Ralph Wright's morose tones as Eeyore), there's a deeper connection to Milne's books than ever. There's an undefinable, slightly mournful quality to his work – after all, the opening scene is taken directly from the farewell-to-childhood tea party that closes The House at Pooh Corner – and a sense of growing up. After all, Milne wrote the stories for his son, and Christopher Robin is never rescued by magical stuffed animals: Even as a small boy, he is always the deus ex machina that resolves their conununderumerums. This contemporary script catches that tone exquisitely, while still finding space for kid-giggle pratfalls, and the delicate, absurdist humor of the books.

True, Christopher Robin may take a little time to get to those emotions, mainly due to a scene-setting introduction that could stretch the attention of the most wriggly children. But once Pooh and Christopher are again paw-in-hand, it's just enchanting. It's in Cummings' voice, and that slight sense of confusion and loss and optimism that always defines his kind-hearted depiction of the bear of very little brain. It's in cinematographer Matthias Koenigswieser's beautiful capturing of the rolling, heather-dotted English countryside. It's in the truly remarkable work of the effect team, who curtail the cartoonishness and instead make the toys feel like real period toys. True, the designs often hew much more to the "classic Pooh" set out by Disney animator Wolfgang Reitherman and his team for 1966's Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, than to E.H. Shepard's original illustrations. But the final design looks like someone took Reitherman's work to a 1920s bear manufacturer like Steiff or the Ideal Toy Company and said, "Make these." There's something about Pooh's thinning mohair, or the grey along Piglet's pink furrowed brow that will make the stiffest of British upper lips tremble.

But it all hangs from a pitch-perfect performance by McGregor, who does as much to breathe life into his old friends as anyone. He believes that the silly old bear is right there, and so will you.

Showtimes

Wed., Aug. 15

12:15, 3:05, 6:00, 9:05

Thu., Aug. 16

12:15, 3:05, 6:10, 9:05

Fri., Aug. 17

11:15am, 2:05, 5:15, 6:00, 9:00

Sat., Aug. 18

3:55, 6:00, 9:00
AFA 12:00

Sun., Aug. 19

11:15am, 2:05, 5:15, 6:00, 9:00

Mon., Aug. 20

11:15am, 2:05, 5:15, 6:00, 9:00

Tue., Aug. 21

11:15am, 2:05, 5:15, 6:00, 9:00

Wed., Aug. 15

12:20, 3:15, 6:00, 9:00

Thu., Aug. 16

12:15, 3:20, 7:15, 11:10

Fri., Aug. 17

12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00

Sat., Aug. 18

10:45am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:25, 10:05

Sun., Aug. 19

1:40, 4:25, 6:00, 10:00
OC 10:40am

Mon., Aug. 20

12:20, 3:10, 6:00, 9:00

Tue., Aug. 21

3:00, 6:00, 9:10
AFA 12:15

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Wed., Aug. 15

12:05, 3:05, 6:00, 9:00

Thu., Aug. 16

12:05, 3:10, 6:00, 9:00

Fri., Aug. 17

12:15, 3:05, 6:00, 9:00

Sat., Aug. 18

10:10am, 2:10, 5:15, 6:50, 9:40

Sun., Aug. 19

2:05, 5:15, 6:25, 9:30
AFA 10:05am

Mon., Aug. 20

11:30am, 3:00, 6:05, 10:05

Tue., Aug. 21

3:00, 6:00, 9:00
AFA 11:25am

Wed., Aug. 15

12:10, 3:05, 6:00, 8:45

Thu., Aug. 16

12:00, 3:05, 6:05, 9:55

Fri., Aug. 17

12:55, 3:45, 6:35, 9:30

Sat., Aug. 18

12:45, 3:30, 6:00, 8:50

Sun., Aug. 19

12:20, 3:10, 6:00, 8:50

Mon., Aug. 20

12:20, 3:10, 6:00, 8:50

Tue., Aug. 21

3:05, 6:00, 8:45
AFA 12:15

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Wed., Aug. 15

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:20, 4:50, 7:20
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 11:40am, 2:20, 4:50, 7:20

Thu., Aug. 16

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:20, 4:50, 7:20

Fri., Aug. 17

CC/DVS 10:50am, 1:25, 3:55, 6:30, 9:10

Sat., Aug. 18

10:50am, 1:25, 3:55, 6:30, 9:10

Sun., Aug. 19

10:50am, 1:25, 3:55, 6:30

Mon., Aug. 20

10:50am, 1:25, 3:55, 6:30

Tue., Aug. 21

10:50am, 1:25, 3:55, 6:30

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Wed., Aug. 15

digital 11:05am, 1:45, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40
digital, luxury lounger 11:05am, 1:45, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Wed., Aug. 15

digital 12:30, 4:00, 6:40, 9:15

Thu., Aug. 16

digital 12:30, 4:00, 6:40, 9:15

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Wed., Aug. 15

1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:05

Thu., Aug. 16

1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:05

Fri., Aug. 17

10:20am, 1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:05

Sat., Aug. 18

10:20am, 1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:05

Sun., Aug. 19

1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:05

Mon., Aug. 20

1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:05

Tue., Aug. 21

1:40, 4:35, 7:25, 10:05

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Wed., Aug. 15

11:30am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:15, 9:55

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Wed., Aug. 15

CC 10:30am, 12:00, 2:20, 5:30, 8:30

Thu., Aug. 16

CC 10:30am, 12:00, 2:20, 5:30, 8:30

Fri., Aug. 17

CC 10:30am, 2:30, 5:30, 8:30

Sat., Aug. 18

CC 10:30am, 2:30, 5:30, 8:45

Sun., Aug. 19

CC 10:30am, 2:30, 5:30, 8:45

Mon., Aug. 20

CC 10:45am, 2:30, 5:30, 8:45

Tue., Aug. 21

CC 10:45am, 2:30, 5:30, 8:45

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Wed., Aug. 15

ClosedCapDescListenHINO PASS 12:00, 2:35, 5:00, 7:30, 10:00

Thu., Aug. 16

ClosedCapDescListenHINO PASS 12:00, 2:35, 5:00, 7:30, 10:00

Fri., Aug. 17

ClosedCapDescListenHINO PASS 12:05, 2:25, 4:50, 7:15, 9:35, 11:55

Sat., Aug. 18

ClosedCapDescListenHINO PASS 12:05, 2:25, 4:50, 7:15, 9:35, 11:55

Sun., Aug. 19

ClosedCapDescListenHINO PASS 12:05, 2:25, 4:50, 7:15, 9:35

Mon., Aug. 20

ClosedCapDescListenHINO PASS 12:05, 2:25, 4:50, 7:15, 9:35

Tue., Aug. 21

ClosedCapDescListenHINO PASS 12:05, 2:25, 4:50, 7:15, 9:35

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Wed., Aug. 15

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:50, 7:10, 10:20

Thu., Aug. 16

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:50, 7:10, 10:20

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Wed., Aug. 15

CC 11:30am, 2:00, 4:25, 7:00

Thu., Aug. 16

CC 11:30am, 2:00, 4:25, 7:00

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Wed., Aug. 15

12:15, 3:30, 6:45, 9:45

Thu., Aug. 16

11:30am, 2:30, 6:00, 9:00

Fri., Aug. 17

11:15am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:45

Sat., Aug. 18

11:15am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:45

Sun., Aug. 19

11:15am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:45

Mon., Aug. 20

11:15am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:45

Tue., Aug. 21

11:15am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:45

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Wed., Aug. 15

CC/DVS 11:45am, 2:30, 5:15, 6:00
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 11:45am, 2:30, 5:15, 6:00

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Wed., Aug. 15

CC/DVS 2:10, 4:50, 7:30, 10:05

Thu., Aug. 16

CC/DVS 2:10, 4:50, 7:30, 10:05

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Wed., Aug. 15

Reserved Seating 9:00am, 10:00am, 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 11:00

Thu., Aug. 16

Reserved Seating 9:00am, 10:00am, 12:00, 3:00, 6:00

Fri., Aug. 17

Reserved Seating 9:20am, 12:10, 3:05, 6:00, 9:00

Sat., Aug. 18

Reserved Seating 9:20am, 12:10, 3:05, 6:00, 9:00

Sun., Aug. 19

Reserved Seating 9:20am, 12:10, 3:05, 6:00, 9:00

Mon., Aug. 20

Reserved Seating 12:10, 3:05, 6:00, 9:00

Tue., Aug. 21

Reserved Seating 12:10, 3:05, 6:00, 9:00

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Parkway, Building 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Wed., Aug. 15

Reserved Seating 10:15am, 1:15, 4:15, 7:00, 10:00

Thu., Aug. 16

Reserved Seating 10:15am, 1:15, 4:15, 7:00, 10:00

Fri., Aug. 17

Reserved Seating 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:15

Sat., Aug. 18

Reserved Seating 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:15

Sun., Aug. 19

Reserved Seating 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:15

Mon., Aug. 20

Reserved Seating 12:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:15

Tue., Aug. 21

Reserved Seating 12:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:15

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Wed., Aug. 15

9:55am, 12:55, 3:50, 6:35, 9:20

Thu., Aug. 16

9:55am, 12:55, 3:50, 6:35, 9:20

Fri., Aug. 17

9:55am, 12:55, 3:50, 6:35, 9:20

Sat., Aug. 18

9:55am, 12:55, 3:50, 6:35, 9:20

Sun., Aug. 19

9:55am, 12:55, 3:50, 6:35, 9:20

Mon., Aug. 20

9:55am, 12:55, 3:50, 6:35, 9:20

Tue., Aug. 21

9:55am, 12:55, 3:50, 6:35, 9:20

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Wed., Aug. 15

11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:10, 9:45

Thu., Aug. 16

11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:10, 9:50

Fri., Aug. 17

11:10am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:10, 9:50

Sat., Aug. 18

11:10am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:10, 9:50

Sun., Aug. 19

11:10am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:10

Mon., Aug. 20

1:45, 4:30, 7:10

Tue., Aug. 21

1:45, 4:30, 7:10

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Wed., Aug. 15

10:50am, 12:20, 1:45, 3:00, 4:10, 6:10, 8:45

Thu., Aug. 16

10:45am, 12:15, 1:15, 3:05, 4:10, 6:10

Wed., Aug. 15

11:00am, 1:35, 2:10, 4:20, 7:40, 10:30

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Wed., Aug. 15

10:40am, 1:20, 4:00, 6:40, 9:20

Thu., Aug. 16

10:40am, 1:20, 4:00, 6:40, 9:20

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Wed., Aug. 15

CC/DVS 11:15am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:15, 9:40

Thu., Aug. 16

CC/DVS 11:15am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:15, 9:45

Fri., Aug. 17

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30

Sat., Aug. 18

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30

Sun., Aug. 19

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30

Mon., Aug. 20

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30

Tue., Aug. 21

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Christopher Robin, Marc Forster, Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Mark Gatiss

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