Last weekend we took our family to see the movie “Christopher Robin.” This live action remake of the Winnie-the-Pooh story is Disney’s latest addition to their canon of classic childhood tales we all grew up on. And like most children, ours were eager to see Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, and Piglet on the big screen again.
Set in post-World War 2 London, England, the plot is simple enough for children to understand and yet filled with touchstones of philosophy from Winnie-the-Pooh to keep the adult audience members on their toes. Christopher Robin (played by Ewen Mcgregor) is grown up now, married with a beautiful young daughter, Madeline. He works as the Efficiency Manager at Winslow Enterprises, in the Luggage Department. And over the particular weekend the movie takes place, he’s charged by the owner’s ne’er do-well son with cutting their bottom line by 20% – a nearly impossible feat without letting go a majority of the staff.
And like many adults do, he’s chosen his work/career/job over his spouse and child. His communication with his beautiful wife (Hayley Atwell–one wonders *how* he’s ignored her for so long!) is at a standstill. Despite Hayley telling him “Your life is happening now–right in front of you!” he lets them leave for the countryside for the weekend without him, everyone holding back tears.
On Saturday, while Christopher Robin is agonizing over solutions that take him nowhere, Winnie the Pooh wakes up in the Hundred Acre Wood and finds his way to the magic tree door that leads to where Christopher Robin went in and out as a child. And when Pooh goes through the doorway, he finds himself in a London park and falls asleep on the bench. Christopher Robin finds him there after work and takes him home for the night.
Children will enjoy Pooh’s antics of spilling honey on the floor, tramping it all over the house, breaking shelves, etc. And Christopher Robin’s decision to take Pooh back to the cottage in the country but to keep it from his wife and daughter is a wonderful journey back in time to his childhood where Pooh helps him remember a few important things that adults are prone to forget.
Lesson #1: “I Always Get To Where I’m Going By Walking Away From Where I’ve Been”
As adults, we often spend so much time twisting and turning over decisions about our careers, our writing, and the direction we need to be going. Winnie-the-Pooh makes it so simple! Walk away from where you’ve been and you’ll always get to where you’re going– so move forward. Take that first step, move, leave whatever you’re holding onto behind.
Write that on a Post-It Note and stick it on your computer. Or cross-stitch it if you’re crafty.
Lesson #2: “Sometimes Doing Nothing Leads To The Best Something”
This Pooh-ism is my personal favourite. As writer’s/creative’s we so often feel we’re on the hamster wheel of deadlines and To-Do’s. Our hard drives are crammed with stories in various states of “being written”. And yet–WE control our time. I don’t believe in “writer’s block” but I do believe in “creative block” and so “doing nothing” on our writing for hours to a day can *often* lead to the “best something”.
If the words aren’t coming for you, do something else! Knit, play Boggle with yourself, walk the dog, binge watch something on Netflix, listen to some music, or take a nap. Let your brain do something else for a time and it will lead to “the best something.”
Lesson #3: “You Need To Remember Who You Are”
This is tied to a quick conversation Christopher Robin and Pooh have after Pooh lets a man on the street see him “talking”.
Christopher Robin crams him in a phone booth and says to him, “You’re different. And people don’t like things that are different.”
Pooh says, “So I shouldn’t be me?”
CR: “No, you should always be yourself!”
What a wonderful children’s lesson Disney has packed in to this movie! This theme is repeated throughout the movie in several scenes but this one says it best. Remember WHO you are and that you should ALWAYS be YOURSELF. And that your “inner child”, that pure, unspoiled, innocent, kind and imaginative child is the one that needs to be let loose on the world in order for us to reclaim the world to make it a better place.
Remember that YOU are YOU and YOU are SPECIAL. Powerful stuff.
Christopher Robin has remembered these important messages from his childhood, reconciled with his wife and daughter, and saved his company. Children will infer these positive messages from watching the movie and enjoying the iconic characters created by author A. A. Milne for his own little boy Christopher Robin, post World War 1. (An interesting fact, although a children’s author, A. A. Milne served in the Army in both World Wars.)
And as writers, we can claim Winnie-the-Pooh’s “Three Lessons on Life” and bring them forward to help us let loose our own creativity on the world.
I can’t wait to read your “Best Something”!
More about Laurie Wood:
In the mid-1980’s I was a municipal police officer when women in Canada were pioneers in policing. But I always wanted to be a writer. Now I’m a military wife who’s lived across our beautiful country. My husband and I have raised two wonderful children with Down Syndrome to adulthood and they bless us every day. My books have finaled in the prestigious Daphne du Maurier (twice), the TARA, the Jasmine, and the Genesis contests. We live in central Canada with a menagerie of dogs, cats and kids and if the house were bigger, no doubt we’d have more.
Read Laurie’s author interview HERE.
Check out the cover reveal for her romance, Northern Deception.