Like Pooh himself, this family dramedy is cozy, cuddly, and sweet, if not particularly nuanced or brisk. Entertaining voice performances bolster the live-action cast's take on the grown-up Christopher Robin, who's too tightly wound in his adult responsibilities to see that his wife and daughter are desperate for his laughter and presence. The plot takes a while to kick into gear, but once it does, audiences will surely enjoy the parts featuring Pooh and the rest of the gang, who are all each as we remember them from the books/movies. Earnest and kind, Pooh might call himself "a bear of very little brain," but viewers know that what counts isn't his smarts but his tremendous heart, which is full of love, joy, curiosity, and compassion. And director Marc Forster emphasizes the idea that not a lot has to happen for you to feel something, deeply, in a character-driven movie. The movie is fairly simple, and that seems to be the point (though you'll be forgiven if you catch yourself wondering exactly when the story is going to really kick in).
There's a lesson for all overworked moviegoers as Christopher returns to his childhood play space and rediscovers his close friends, who've missed him for decades. (Though if it takes a fuzzy bear to make you realize that stressing about work without a break will negatively impact your personal/family life, you really need some paid time off.) For a movie set in England shortly after World War II, Christopher Robin is notably diverse, without comment; it's gratifying -- and important -- to see supporting characters played by people of color, even if at that time it's unlikely there would have been such an integrated work force. Cummings, Okonedo, Capaldi, and the rest of the voice actors are all in sync with their characters; Garrett is particularly well cast as the grumpy Eeyore. But ultimately the movie belongs to McGregor and Cummings, who, as Christopher Robin and Pooh, form the bonded duo of boy and bear that fans will be eager to see back together again.