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Letter: Sometimes doing nothing can lead to important discoveries

Ewan McGregor and Winnie the Pooh in a scene from the Disney film “Christopher Robin.” Image courtesy Walt Disney Studios
Ewan McGregor and Winnie the Pooh in a scene from the Disney film “Christopher Robin.” Image courtesy Walt Disney Studios - Contributed

Just before Labour Day weekend I took advantage of a cool day during a hot summer and went to the movies to see Marc Forster’s film “Christopher Robin.” It left me with a few tears and the echoing, understated philosophy from A.A. Milne, who reminds us that sometimes “doing nothing” can lead to “the very best of something,” which Winnie the Pooh learns from the young Christopher Robin, before he grows up and becomes the Efficiency Manager of a large luggage company.

Tasked with cutting back by 20 per cent, adult Christopher Robin is forced to abandon his family plans to go to their cottage for the weekend to prep instead for the big cutback meeting. This somehow poetic and meandering beginning, much like the Milne books, has Pooh wandering through a portal in a tree to Post-Second World War London in an unrelated mission to secure his old mate’s help in finding his pals Eeyore, Piglet, and the gang. After a humorous and perplexing visit which reveals their divergent realities, Christopher Robin returns the out-of-context Pooh to his appropriate domain in the surroundings of his boyhood home, and now cottage, where his wife and daughter have gone without him. 

If feels like we’ve reached the movie’s crescendo when Christopher Robin learns to play again in 100 Acre Wood, but it turns out his daughter, Madeline, who bears the weight of her father’s work ethic, needs to learn to play as well. Christopher Robin cuts short his visit and returns to London, and Madeline discovers her father’s cast of A.A. Milne characters while playing with the red balloon Pooh brings back from London. 

When she learns Tigger has removed the work notes from Christopher Robin’s ever-present briefcase and replaced them with acorn and sticks, Madeline attempts to save the day and return them in time for the meeting.

Without spoiling the story, we are left with an all too familiar reflection of economic austerity as Christopher Robin’s exchange with Pooh centralizes the movie’s theme, telling the bear that his staff aren’t really his friends because sometimes he has to let them go. Pooh’s response is a heart-rending revelation of the incongruence of childhood loyalty and logic with adult reality and by the movie’s end, we are left wondering if children and even Teddy Bears should rule the world.

On the other hand, the fiscal solution for the luggage company, revealed in a Eureka moment by Christopher Robin, resembles make-believe, in a twist that turns the 1 per cent on its head, solving the problems of the world in one fell swoop. While it overlooks 40 years of union organizing, it leaves a glimmer of hope that creative minds can take a step back and by “doing nothing,” make important discoveries that change the way we look at our world.    

Sandy Williamson

St. John’s

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