Labor Day Movie Review: "Christopher Robin" Supports Your Labor, and Your Dreams

ALPERN AT LARGE--I love Winnie the Pooh, and all the kindness and "art of doing nothing" he stands for...and, of course, what the original author, and Disney's movies, stood for. 


Childhood is precious, and sanity during adulthood (particularly parenthood!) is precious, and free time is precious, and they're all under attack.

But fear not! Christopher Robin is here to save the day! Yet who can first save Christopher Robin? 

Winnie the Pooh, of course. 

My years in medicine, teaching, family life and neighborhood council politics has taught me one thing: I prefer the company of children to adults, because only children ever act their age.

Yet the adult world is a necessary and wonderful thing, in the right doses. Earning the income for one's children and earning the income to go on vacation or enjoy a movie and earning the income to provide for the poor and unfortunate among us, is essential to the human experience.

But, in the end, we're just adult children--which we forget at our peril.

And sometimes our "inner child" has to come back and save us adults from adulthood. One of the reasons why I just adore Katy Perry's video for her song "Wide Awake" is that it so artistically and beautifully illustrates how her own childhood memory saved her from a miserable moment in her adulthood.

The ultimate and "authentic" Winnie the Pooh sequel is "Christopher Robin", a movie; whereby the titular character needs saving of his own in order to save others--and who proves smart enough to address his adult pressures by a rather childish approach...and which succeeds after the adult, sober, and cruel methods have proven inevitably unsuccessful.

Ewan McGregor is perfect for the role, and his wife is also perfect for the role. McGregor is the right man for the right movie and is absolutely believable as a stressed and oh-so-joyless Christopher Robin. His wife is played by Hayley Atwell, who is clearly more diverse an actress than her awesome Agent Carter roles and will certainly be a first-rate Mary Poppins.

Jim Cummings IS the perfect voice of Pooh and Tigger (he's been voicing the characters for decades). Brad Garrett is absolutely a show-stealer as an Eeyore, who perhaps is the movie's funniest surprise. Even Richard Sherman (with such an amazing role in the Winnie the Pooh movies) has a cameo in the credits--so don't leave when "The End" shows up!

But Christopher Robin ("Robin" is his last name in the movie) is sweet in a life that proves painful and anything BUT innocent after he leaves The Hundred Acre Wood to go to boarding school. Scholastic demands, family crises, and--oh, yes--World War Two--all conspire to beat the childhood out of Mr. Robin, who's still kind and is losing himself as he fights for the needs of his family and his workmates.

His family and co-workers love Robin but see him losing his ability to keep it together and wonder where it will leave him ... and them. 

Sound familiar? Something from our own pressure-cooker lives?

Well, the "common man/woman" must be fought for, and now that it's Labor Day we should remember it's not the rich elites who will save us...but rather ourselves. And perhaps that's why our own cultural, political, and social iconoclastic era makes us need "Christopher Robin"...and Winnie the Pooh...more than ever.

Because the Heffalumps and the Woozles around us are tearing our lives and families apart, making things less livable, and less affordable, and less joyful, than ever. 

Something DOES come from Nothing, and perhaps a different perspective of "less is more" and focusing on how the middle and working-poor classes are doing is as vital as ever. We probably all need to think about and obsess less on how the political, Hollywood, and social media elites are doing (who only care about themselves).

I saw this movie twice and loved it both times. It'll make you laugh, and make you think, and perhaps even make you cry. But sweet Winnie the Pooh is always there to calm you down when you need it the most.

And Christopher Robin is still there to save the day...when we need him the most.

Happy Labor Day!!!

(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at alpern@marvista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)