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I saw Disney’s Christopher Robin in mid-August, late summer here in the U.S.—the transitional season when the adventurous days of summer, sun, sand, and play give way to the structured rhythms of the start of school. Combined with the fact that Christopher Robin (not to be confused with last year’s Goodbye, Christopher Robin) is largely a nostalgic reverie for the lost innocence of carefree play, it was easy for me to read the film through the lens of summer’s end.
Though the pacing of Christopher Robin drags in places, and the plot beats are somewhat predictable, the film is by and large a sweet, refreshingly sincere family movie. It connected with me not only because I loved A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories as a kid, and not only because I’m expecting the birth of my firstborn child in a few weeks, but because it captures something beautiful and true about the bittersweet losses that come with life’s changing seasons.
Poem - C - S - Lewis - Late
There is a little-known poem by C. S. Lewis called “Late Summer.” It’s a sad poem, full of regret and longing, but it captures poignantly the “summer’s end” feeling of decay, shorter days, and the winding down of possibility:
Something would come of all my green and blue.
I am, that I, even I, was once a spring.
The first 15 minutes of Christopher Robin capture something of this feeling. The film opens on what feels like a midsummer’s garden party in the Hundred Acre Wood. Young Christopher Robin (Orton O’Brien) enjoys a rollicking tea party with the whole gang: Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, and Owl, all of them live-action talking stuffed animals that uncannily resemble their previous iterations on page and screen. There is laughter, cake, and (of course) plenty of honey. But it is also sunset, and the celebration marks...
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