Christopher Robin: Remembering Joy, Learning to Stay Young at Heart

“I get where I’m going by walking away from where I was.” – Winnie the Pooh

When I was a boy, one of my favorite books to have read to me was Winnie the Pooh. The House at Pooh Corner was also a favorite (Suzanne’s too.) So of course, when we saw advertisements for the new movie Christopher Robin, we had to go. Today (my favorite day, too, Pooh), Suzanne and I went to see the movie, just a few days after the birthday of the real Christopher Robin. It is a delightful, sweet movie that you will enjoy.

As the movie begins, Christopher Robin is being sent off to boarding school, meaning he will no longer be there to play with his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga, and Roo throw him a bittersweet going-away party.

We then see some exposition, beginning with printed pages as you would see in the Pooh books. Christopher Robin grows up, meets and marries an architect named Evelyn, and they have a daughter named Madeline. Although he loves his wife and daughter, they see little of him, as he has a very demanding job at Winslow Luggage.

The luggage company is having problems and they need to cut expenses by 20 percent. Christopher Robin is assigned the task, causing him to miss a country weekend with Evelyn and Madeline. He stays home in London while they go to Sussex.

In the Hundred Acre Wood, Pooh is looking for his friends. Unable to find them, he goes into Christopher Robin’s house, because Christopher Robin always knew how to find them. When he comes out the other door, he is in London. While Pooh is sleeping on a bench, Christopher Robin sits down on the other one. Pooh immediately recognizes him.

Christopher Robin takes Pooh home, but then escorts him back to the Hundred Acre Wood, working on the project the entire time. Pooh is concerned about his old friend. At the station, Pooh insists on a red balloon. Christopher Robin is happy to be there, but knows he has to get back to London for work. He is not the young Christopher Robin that Pooh knew.

Eeyore, Piglet, and the rest are hanging onto a log in fear of a Heffalump. Meanwhile, work is getting away from Christopher Robin. He falls asleep, and when he wakes up, he realizes he has to get back to London immediately for the meeting on how to cut expenses. In his rush, he forgets some important papers. Pooh’s red balloon gets away from him.

Madeline is out playing tennis with a red balloon she found when she hears noises. Pooh and his friends emerge. They join Madeline on an “expetition” to London to get Christopher Robin’s papers back to him. Eventually, Christopher Robin finds a creative solution to the company’s situation that solves their financial problems without having to lay off anyone. He and Evelyn and Madeline take some time in the country, spent with some very good old friends.

This sweet movie has a lot of useful lessons. Never neglect what you love, whether it’s the people in your life or an old stuffed bear. That is the most important thing in your life. Never neglect the child within. As Jesus told us, be like a child. As the old Frank Sinatra song says, “Fairy tales can come true. It can happen to you, if you’re young at heart.”

At one point, Pooh (as usual) describes himself as “a bear of very little brain.” Christopher Robin tells him that he is “a bear of very big heart.” Always pay attention to the heart. Relying only on the brain will lead to a less fruitful life than we could be living. Don’t get so absorbed in responsibility that there is no time for play. Play is spiritual. It’s in the moment. And it’s refreshing, so we can meet our responsibilities more effectively.

Always, always, always remember the joy. And always be prepared for an “expetition.”

You will enjoy this wonderful movie. You’ll smile, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but most of all, you’ll have a wonderful time. Even when you’re dealing with Eeyore.