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I am a judge for the Indianapolis-based Heartland Film Festival. This
feature film is a Crystal Heart Award Winner and is eligible to be the
Grand Prize Winner in October of 2005. The Heartland Film Festival is a
non-profit that honors Truly Moving Pictures. A Truly Moving Picture
explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and
respect for the positive values of life."
The film centers around a Canadian army veterinarian, who buys a bear cub from a hunter while on a train ride east across Canada with his army comrades. They are going to a training camp, and from there they are going to Europe to fight in World War I. For a while, the bear cub becomes an army mascot. However, the bear becomes too troublesome and the order comes down to get rid of the bear. And that is where the story gets interesting.
The young army men have a boring, uneventful life as they train for war. The bear becomes one of their centers of interest. Their other center of interest is developing relationships among each other as they prepare for the then unknown-to-them horrors of war. It becomes obvious that the real purpose of training is to develop loyalty and friendship among each other so that they can rely on each other in stressful war times.
The film has wonderful art direction and costuming and you are truly placed into the early part of the 20th century.
A.A. Milne learned of this true story and this became the basis for the Winnie-the-Pooh stories.
FYI There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past Crystal Heart winners that are now either at the theater or available on video.
I've already nitpicked about a few minor errors. But on the whole this is a pretty accurate, well produced and heart tugging movie that explores a little known tidbit of Canadian history. CBC hopes it will become an annual Christmas favourite. Interesting they cast David Suchet and Christopher Fry rather than Canadian actors. Do they perhaps want star names to help foreign sales? Okay, the ending is a little drippy. But again, this isn't a documentary but a fuzzy feel good animal movie and in that genre, it works well. Again hats off to CBC for fulfilling its mandate to produce original Canadian drama. (FYI-I meant to vote 8 but accidentally hit 9. It's very good but not that good.)
What a beautiful movie! After seeing this movie, I guess I'll fall in
love with Winnie the pooh much more than before.
This story happens around World War I. But it isn't about war... it's about love between Lt. Harry Colebourn and his little bear Winnie which later became the inspiration for the famous "Winnie the Pooh" stories.
I show my respect to Lt. Harry Colebourn, his fellow soldiers (especially Ian Macray) and Col.John Barret. Even though they were in the edge of war time, they did their best to take care of this little furry creature and kept love for her all the way.
I strongly recommend this movie to those who have furry family members. Animals can teach you what true love is...
I have to say that as the Foley Artist on this film, I didn't spend a
day when I wasn't attempting to conceal my tears from my co-workers! I
LOVE this story! I'm a great animal lover and so I felt an enormous
degree of empathy for the little bear in being "abandoned" by her
adopted dad, "Harry". The way the story plays out, I don't know HOW
anyone could have left "someone he loves so much" to go to war. But in
the end, this is the reality of anyone who is called to war.
It really hits me hard in the end when Harry decides to leave Winnie at the zoo, instead of taking her home to Canada, as he promised.
If it were "my bear"...I would have brought her home with me...BUT...I'm only in the Sound Department. LOL
All in all, I wish I would see more of this type of quality story-telling being produced in Canada. It was a great pleasure to work on Winnie. I loved it. Thanks CBC for a WONDERFUL PRODUCTION!
Virginia (who has just left her very first comment out of all the productions she's worked on!)
I have to say I just finished watching this movie and loved it. It was very well done and very touching the bear was great as well as the actors in this. I didn't realize it was started here in Canada so I learned something new! It is a heart warming movie and I would tell everyone to watch it!. It can bring on a few tears as well. Great for all ages. It is two hours of great entertainment and the time passes very fast without even knowing. The cast is also great as I said they did a great job the filming was not to bad either I would say I give this movie a 10/10 and again I'm a sucker for animal movies to normally I don't watch them cause they tug on the heart strings but this one I do give thumbs up ! Merry Christmas Everyone and have a great New Year and good movie watching to all!
Here's a quote from the CBC website along with my personal comments at
the very end:
"It is August 1914 and World War I has just begun.Lieutenant Harry Colebourn (Michael Fassbender), a veterinarian with the 34th Fort Garry Horse Division, is traveling by train with other soldiers when he buys a bear cub at a rest stop. He names her Winnie, after his home town of Winnipeg and, in spite of all common sense warnings from his fellow soldiers, takes her with him to the camp in Valcartier, Quebec where the Canadian expeditionary force is gathering.
Winnie is a breath of fresh air for the young soldiers faced with the prospect of war, and she travels with them all the way to Salisbury Plain in England.
When Harry's regiment is sent to fight in France, the young vet knows Winnie cannot go. He finds a home for her at the London Zoo, promising to return as soon as the war is over and take her back to Canada.
While Harry and his friends fight in France, Winnie becomes the star attraction at the zoo. For the children of London, living in the shadow of a frightening war, she becomes a symbol of friendship and hope."
What a good way to spend 2 hours. The acting was great, well directed, the sets were appropriate and I did get choked up! (This doesn't happen often, except in Zombie movies).
However, there were some VERY annoying slow-motion shots that looked terrible. Lots of flickering during the slow-motion scenes and bad timing. It should have been omitted.
Final verdict...A very entertaining and educational story about a beloved bear for the whole family.
A heart warming family story. We are a family of animal lovers and find
this film very touching and worthy of studying the lives and habitats
of the Canadian black bear. Very gentle and lovely ; the film is well
produced and the casting is excellent. We bought a copy of this
wonderful film in DVD form and guess it will be viewed by all our
family members and many friends over the years to come. It certainly
would make a very nice gift for birthdays and/or Christmas.
The countryside is green and cool and very relaxing to look at and the locations well sought out. Congratulations to all involved in the making.
Winnie the Pooh has and always will be my first love. From A.A. Milne
to Disney, he's a beloved character ... or, shall we say, she?
While I'd always known the true story of Pooh, it was refreshing to finally see it displayed to the world without having to look it up. The fact remains that Winnie was a real character, Canadian, and an inspiration to more than just stories. This film captures that ideal with vigorous emotion and as something I'd willingly watch again.
A must for anyone interested in Canadian history, or simply the 'silly willy nilly old bear'.
It all starts in a world war environment, guys ready to serve their country, kill and be killed. Then as he is taking a walk in the local town, this soldier comes across a bear killer's shop, with bear skins everywhere. Then that little cub makes herself heard, and the soldier can't bear (haha!) the idea of the little one being skinned so buys it and tells his soldier unit this should be their mascot, their buddy, the little thing that could guide them and give them some warmth in the eve of a potential big fight. All fall in love with the cub, now named Winnie, and as weeks go by, all protect her and look after her. The key-soldier and his new best friend share a tent with Winnie at night. She is so cute and full of surprises, everybody falls in love with her. Difficult times and events follow, both for the army guys and Winnie, and then her destiny wraps up, as well as theirs. Not a blockbuster, but a very nice movie to watch on a Sunday afternoon, and one that makes you think again, in a nice way, about how animals can affect our lives. I recommend this film, if you are emotional, get some tissue. :-)
My children were very much entertained by this movie. Historical and
semi-factual movies are not really their thing at ALL. It was nice to
get them to discuss WWI, bears, relationships, zoo history.. you name
it. The bear was really charming. I've never been a huge Pooh fan, but
I am a bear fan. I love bear movies. This made me set aside a little
love in my heart for Winnie the Pooh. It did bring some tears to my
eyes when the bear is in the hospital visiting...
I think it's better than average as kids' animal movies go. I don't think my husband would want to watch it again, however. I personally think this movie is rated a little high on this site. Perhaps it doesn't have enough votes yet to get a good measurement. It's a good movie, but by no means is it high cinema. It's a made for TV movie, for sure.
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