Cooper Trapp, Staff Writer
For those wishing to submerge themselves in nostalgia, a double-edged sword must be forewarned. The movies of your childhood are not the same to you anymore. The plot twists and musical overture inspires little in the way of unbridled awe over us as it once did, and the veracity of story seems a little, well, tame. However, they remain enrapturing nonetheless, and many parts still jog your memory, eliciting a smile or gasp. Most importantly, watching these movies now in our college years affords us a lens through which to more accurately see the writer’s perspective, and to understand the often more adult, darker, and complex themes that as children we could not notice.
Winnie the Pooh and the boy Christopher Robin are best friends as summer draws to an end. Christopher Robin knows he must soon depart, but Pooh insists any news can wait. Unable to break it to Pooh, Christopher Robin affirms this parting advice: “If there is ever a tomorrow when we’re not together…there is something you must remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”
That next morning, a mysterious note attached to a pot of honey sets into motion a grand adventure for Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit and Eeyore to rescue Christopher Robin from his unknown fate. Banding together and remembering Christopher Robin’s message, they overcome their insecurities and find him safe and sound. Pooh’s Grand Adventure teaches life lessons about friendship and self-esteem and that things are rarely as scary as they seem when we are frightened and alone.
What Pooh’s Grand Adventure does so well, and why it deserves a slot in your Sunday afternoon, is the relatable problems each character faces, and the way that each find it within themselves to do what it takes to rescue their beloved friend. In the movie’s climactic scene, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit and Eeyore locate the high shelf inside the ‘skull’ where their friend supposedly lay. All throughout the movie, the troupe had lamented that if only their friend Christopher Robin were here, they would know what to do, and where to go. Now, feeling neither brave, strong, or smart, they must reverse roles and rescue him.
There is a mildly darker theme that goes along with the movie, and perhaps contributes to much of the film’s staying power- complex issues represented in a digestible, humanizing format. A theory goes that each character in Winnie the Pooh represents a different mental health disorder. Pooh has an eating disorder and is impulsive and forgetful, constantly eating honey and forgetting his words; Rabbit has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD); Eeyore has clinical depression; Tigger demonstrates hallmark signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); Piglet has generalized anxiety; and Owl is dyslexic and narcissistic. It is Owl’s dyslexia which causes him to misread ‘school’ in the mysterious note as ‘skull’. This error results in the troupe heading out into the Hundred Acre Woods with a hand-drawn map to find Christopher Robin in the eye of the ‘skull’ amongst the danger of the ‘Skullasaurus’.
The movie epitomizes life and struggle in the Hundred Acre Wood in a manner directly translatable to the adult world. There may be times when we don’t quite feel brave enough, strong enough, or smart enough for the challenges life presents. The theme running through it all, threading the knot between the protagonists and inspiring them to persevere, is true friendship. Were it not for their shared quest to save Christopher Robin and were it not for the strength of their friendship, they may not have had the courage to reach beyond their limits to help each other. It is a story of friendship and overcoming self doubt.
In a day and age that trust is rare and person to person connections feel superficial, Pooh’s Grand Adventure is a welcome respite. Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin is on Netflix and other such streaming services. At 75 minutes it is absolutely worth watching on a day you need a little encouragement and the message that even apart, friends will always be with you.