First, the positive. Just about every frame is visually sumptuous. So much for that!
I never read 'Winnie the Pooh' when young and have never felt any yearning to catch up on it since.
The biggest downside of this film for me was the little twerp of a kid (Will Tilston) playing the 8-year old title character. If a boy whose every appearance (many of them) was calculated to annoy, then a better choice could not have been made. Although it might be thought unfair to judge the acting of a kid of that age against the experienced adult actors he's working with, I'll do it anyway. I didn't think he was all that good - at least judging between the display of emotions and the words he's got to utter. I kept being conscious of a disparity between the two - with a lot of too-rapid changes from sullen moodiness to beaming smile. Oh, for pity's sake! As for the obnoxious child he was playing, well he undoubtedly fitted that to a tee. I could only marvel as to why his parents didn't take him back as being emotionally 'defective' and demand a replacement - or, far better, ask for a refund!
Current flavour-of-the-month Dohmnall Gleeson (we've just seen him briefly in 'Mother!', as well as in 'American Made') plays the young First World War- shocked A(lan).A.Milne, who's subject to debilitating flashbacks whenever there's a sudden loud report. His harsh-judging wife (Margot Robbie) is impatient for him to get on with writing, and creating something at least as remunerative as the plays he's used to writing. The arrival of their (only) child, Christopher Robin, gives his imagination a slow-burn impetus when the boy becomes old enough to start playing with his toys, a teddy bear above all, which he takes everywhere - particularly when they take walks in the woods (actually filmed in the very area of Sussex where the stories were devised, not very far from where I'm writing this) and the writer starts creating situations bringing in actual animals espied as well as made-up ones. The game of 'pooh-sticks' is invented on a wooden bridge spanning a stream.
The boy forms a particular bond with his nanny (Kelly Macdonald) who supplies much of the warmth towards him which his mother failed to do. On a visit to London Zoo, the sight of a male bear named 'Winnie' makes a particular attraction for the boy, the personality of which the father takes up and weaves into a the world-famous story.
In the film's final 20 minutes we see the boy ten years older (Alex Lawther, a much better actor than his younger character, which is hardly surprising) and his attempt to get signed up to fight in WWII, much to his father's great consternation.
Director Simon Curtis (who did 'My Week with Marilyn' in 2011) manages fine with material with which he obviously feel an affinity, though which is more than some of us can say.
I suppose I might have been more favourably disposed towards the film had I felt a kinship with A.A.Milne's works, but they are a foreign country to me, and are most likely to remain so. This film doesn't kindle any desire to fill the gap of my experience.
So there you are - seen it and job done! Now then, what's next?.................5.
3 hours ago