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Behind the Screen: Christopher Robin

BEHIND THE SCREEN BY KATHRYN WHITNEY BOOLE

Sometimes the tsunami of tasks and communications that come at us minute by minute lead to a type of blindness that can cut off our connection to the world around us and leave our deepest thoughts and feelings buried in our souls. This gem of a movie formulates an antidote to our condition.

Director Marc Forster is discerning about the films he chooses to direct, having turned down several because he did not like the script or the idea. He directed the 2001 classic “Monster’s Ball” in which Halle Berry’s performance won an Academy Award. During the discussion following our screening, he explained that he welcomed the chance to direct “Christopher Robin” because of its theme of hope. I’m personally glad he accepted the opportunity, I loved this truly beautiful film. Forster said he became mesmerized by the English countryside as he was shooting the movie. Windsor Great Park outside Windsor Castle was the location for the “100 Acre Wood.” He and the crew accidentally happened upon the great tree that serves as a seat for Christopher Robin and Pooh towards the end of the film. Thus the same English countryside that inspired the A.A. Milne to write stories about his son, the real Christopher Robin, became a muse again, this time to Forster and his filmmakers.

The premise of the film is that adult Christopher Robin has lost his childhood sense of wonder and his connection to dreams and nature. In the journey this movie takes, he tries to recover this link. Ewan McGregor turns in one of the best performances of his career as Christopher Robin. He was the perfect choice to portray an everyman facing the tragedy of losing touch with life, harboring still a flicker of light left to illuminate his way again. The actors who voice the beloved characters from the book, Winnie the Pooh,” Eyeore, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo and Owl, create creatures that seem as human as the live-action actors. Every vocal inflection is perfect. The hundreds of visual effects artists who worked on the film created such believable personalities for these toys, you will forget after the first few minutes that you are watching stuffed animals tell a story. These characters are the real stars of the movie.

This is a children’s film, and at the same time it is decidedly a film for adults. I noticed that many audience members were shedding tears by the time the closing credits rolled. So many of us have lost our ability to think like a child – that is, to see things clearly, without the prejudice that “too much information” casts on everything we observe. This story clearly illustrates that phenomenon. In one scene, adult Christopher Robin sighs, “I’m lost!” and Pooh replies, “You need to remember who you are.” We all need to reclaim our child selves. How else can we keep our sanity?

 Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.  She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com.

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