One Man and his Bear

Michael Fassbender in A Bear Named Winnie (2004)

Whilst heading by train to a training camp in Valcartier, Québec, Lieutenant Harry Colebourn (Michael Fassbender - X-Men: Days of Future Past) of the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps finds himself buying a bear cub from a hunter who had killed the cub's mother. But that provides a problem as although many of the other soldier's like having the bear cub they name Winnie, short for Winnipeg, as their mascot Colonel Barret (Gil Bellows - Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story) is less than happy about it as he wants his men to be tough, rather than being concerned about a bear cub. Fortunately the Expeditionary Force's commanding officer, General Hallholland (David Suchet - Foolproof), is keen on mascots and so Winnie gets to stay. Over time Winnie becomes so tame that she craves human attention which causes a problem when it comes for Harry and the rest of the men to ship overseas to England then on to France as he knows he will need to find Winnie a permanent home with someone who understands that she isn't a wild bear.

You will never hear the words Winnie-the-Pooh mentioned in the made for TV movie "A Bear Named Winnie" but it was Winnie who captivated Christopher Robin and in turn inspiring A. A. Milne's famous bear. I imagine the reason Winnie-the-Pooh is never mentioned is down to issues of legality but just knowing that this is the story of the bear which inspired Winnie-the-Pooh just brings a smile to your face. And trust me there is many a scene in "A Bear Named Winnie", many of which feature a twenty something Michael Fassbender playing with this bear cub as if it was a puppy.

Gil Bellows in A Bear Named Winnie (2004)

Now "A Bear Named Winnie" is one of the least complex movies you will come across as whilst it takes us into a training camp for soldiers before heading off to war in Europe back in 1914 it is all about the bond between Harry and Winnie as well as many of the men he served with. As such we have those beautiful scenes I already mentioned which feature Michael Fassbender playing with the cub but we also see how many of the men become fond of Winnie and are supportive of Harry as he tries to care for the bear cub. We also see how they deal with issues when a superior orders them to leave Winnie in the wild but of course the bear manages to find his way back to them as they are about to ship overseas to England. I am not going to tell you anymore than this but will say the playfulness of Winnie ad the creativeness of the men constantly makes you smile.

Now there is no denying that a big part of what makes "A Bear Named Winnie" works is the cute factor of a playful bear cub combined with Michael Fassbender. But the acting through out is nicely unaffected as such there are no complicated characters or over the top performances. Instead we have David Suchet playing it eccentric as General Hallholland who had been in action before, then we have Gil Bellows as authoritarian Colonel Barret but also the likes of Aaron Ashmore and Jonathon Young as regular soldiers.

What this all boils down to is that "A Bear Named Winnie" is a real charmer of a movie which not only will it make you smile but trust me when I say you will want to watch it many a times especially when it comes to the final scenes which are simply captivating.

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