Theme: Lost and Found
Christopher Robin is Walt Disney Pictures’ latest live action fantasy adventure, bringing to life the beloved characters from A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories. A heartwarming tale of what it means to be lost and found, Christopher Robin is sure to delight audiences of all ages.
It would be a mistake, however, to relegate this film to just another PG movie about cuddly toys and little boy grown up. Underneath the simplistic story is a profound glimpse of Eden, Exile, and Eternity.
The story opens deep in the One Hundred Acre Wood: a mythic place of beauty, intimacy and adventure. It is the place to which young Christopher Robin has come and spent his childhood days rescuing and protecting his beloved friends. He has been the hero of the One Hundred Acre Wood, exercising benevolent dominion over the animal kingdom (Genesis 2).
On this particular day the animals are seated at a table feasting on tea, cake, and honey, singing their song of eternal friendship, Together Forever, while sadly making a resolution of how much they will miss the company of Christopher Robin. For alas, time has entered the One Hundred Acre Wood, and a day has come when the boy must leave childhood bliss behind and enter the world of adults.
Leaving the dozing animals at the table, Christopher Robin and Pooh retire to their favorite spot for one last moment of doing nothing, which according to Pooh always leads to the very best something. Promising not to forget about Pooh, the pages of life are turned and Christopher Robin finds himself in another world.
The realm, to which Christopher Robin is deported,is as far away from the One Hundred Acre Wood as is possible to go. This is a land of harsh treatment under a cruel taskmaster. Isolation, death, sorrow, and war transform the boy as he grows up in this desolate place. As the years pass his beloved companions fade from memory and are ultimately forgotten.
Without its rightful lord, the One Hundred Acre Wood undergoes change as well. At the door in the tree which has been the threshold between the two worlds, the faithful Pooh waits while the seasons now pass and alter this once timeless place. Winter comes and finally the door is overgrown, a fitting symbol of being forgotten by the hero.
The adult Christopher Robin is an efficiency expert for Winslow Enterprises, a company specializing in the manufacturing of expensive luggage. Giles Winslow the son of the owner is the harsh taskmaster who now rules Christopher Robin, and constantly pressures him to make cuts and fire people. His motto, “Nothing comes from nothing”, is the polar opposite of Pooh’s. In fact everything about life at Winslow Enterprises is the antithesis of life in the One Hundred Acre Wood. Here there are no friends, no joy, no play, only work and the constant pressure to cut costs and be efficient.
Christopher Robin has become his father and is in the process of doing to his daughter Madeline what was done to him. His plan is to send her off to boarding school (against her wishes) so she can have a career like his. He is now the efficiency manager of his own home, unable to enjoy life, laughter, people or play. His wife and daughter depart to his old country cottage in Sussex for an end of summer holiday, leaving him behind in London to make more efficient plans for Giles Winslow.
Lost and Found
Like the first sign of spring appearing in a snowy landscape, a jar of honey spilt over a childhood drawing breaks through the barrier between London and the One Hundred Acre Wood and Pooh awakens very hungry from a long winter’s nap. The woods are foggy, his friends are not to be found, the table is empty and gloomy; but when he finds the old tree, the door suddenly opens. Thinking Christopher Robin has returned at last, Pooh enters the tree and finds himself in London.
The reunion scenes of Christopher Robin and Pooh are both comical and poignant. The silly old bear has not changed and in his eyes, neither has Christopher Robin. The one who hasn’t thought about his friends in thirty years learns they think about him every day, proving love always remembers and does not change (1 Corinthians13:4-8).
Deciding he must personally return Pooh to Sussex, the pair boards a train for the journey home. On the way the contrast between their two worlds becomes so evident. Pooh carries a red balloon (a metaphorfor childhood innocence and seeing the world a glorious place); Christopher Robin clings to his briefcase like a child would a security blanket.
Back in the One Hundred Acre Wood, the two stumble around in the fog and gloom unable to find the other animals. Christopher Robin grows increasingly frustrated and angry, finally declaring he is not a child but an adult. He is not the Christopher Robin Pooh remembers! Pooh quietly replies “you should let me go for a fish in the sea” (efficiency) and he is gone.
As soon as he loses Pooh, Christopher Robin falls into a dark pit, hitting his head and knocking himself out. He is raised out of the pit by water. This is a baptism scene where he “dies” to the false self and is raised to who he was originally created to be, the true Christopher Robin, hero of the One Hundred Acre Wood.
When the rightful lord returns, the sun comes out and the entire wood is set free from its bondage to fog and gloom (Romans 8). The fellowship of friends is restored; play, joy, and doing nothing which leads to the best something is the order of the day.
Christopher Robin finds Pooh waiting for him in their favorite spot. Confessing he is lost to his beloved friend, Pooh responds, “but I found you didn’t I?” Tearfully Christopher Robin hugs the bear and their union is fully restored.
Christopher Robin’s restoration doesn’t keep him in the One Hundred Acre Wood. There are others who need restoring; his daughter Madeline, his wife Evelyn and all the people who worked for him. As a matter of fact, Winslow Enterprises and London need restoring; so the ensuing scenes are a hilarious look at what happens when the One Acre Wood invades London.
The pyramid of power is turned upside down as the spirit of the One Hundred Acre Wood is poured out in the bored (board) room. Those who have been tyrants and enslaved others are revealed and receive their just desserts. Those who have been held in captivity are blessed and set free for a nice long holiday, a day where doing nothing leads to the very best something.1
The movie closes with a beautiful day back in the One Hundred Acre Wood. After tea Pooh and Christopher Robin (whose garments are now conformed to Pooh’s) sit together on their log enjoying Today. It is a day unlike any other; for as Pooh says, “Yesterday, when it was tomorrow, was too much day for me”.
Note: 1. The word holiday comes from the Old English word meaning holy day.