Christopher Robin takes Winnie the Pooh in a somber new direction

When it comes to movie tropes, you could build an entire subgenre out of The Absentee Parent Who Puts Work Ahead of Family. Whether it’s James Caan in Elf, Robin Williams in Hook, Jim Carrey in Liar Liar, or any of the countless permutations before or since, it’s a story pattern audiences can recognize almost instinctively. A parent — usually the dad, though not always — is a no-fun grump that would rather focus on his job instead of spending time with his family, until some (often fantastical) intervention takes places that helps him understand what’s really important.

Christopher Robin, Disney’s latest attempt to bring beloved animated characters into live-action settings, follows that template with devotion. Ewan McGregor plays the…

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