TITLE: Goodbye Christopher Robin
RELEASE DATE: Now Showing
SUMMARY: After World War One, celebrated playwright and returned soldier AA Milne (played terrifically by Domhnall Gleeson) is enraged about warfare. He wants to write a book against war but finds little support for it, including from his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie). Lacking inspiration, Milne spends several days playing outdoors with his young son, Christopher Robin (Will Tilston). Their adventures sow the seeds of Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books, which became a global hit – and cause serious issues for the future of his own family.
RATED: PG for mild themes.
AUDIENCE: Lovers of true stories about storytellers, such as Saving Mr Banks or Shadowlands.
WHAT’S GOOD: This is such a top movie. I really got into it, thanks to excellent performances, script and approach to the true story of where Winnie the Pooh came from. Gleeson is appropriately stiff, cold yet likable as Milne, which helps to cement the joy and unexpected despair which follows the release of his Winnie the Pooh writings. I enjoyed the subtle inclusion of key parts of Winnie the Pooh’s creation, as well as how Goodbye Christopher Robin provides details, conversations and insights which address any issue raised by the film itself. Not all films do this.
WHAT’S NOT: Getting off to a great start, Goodbye Christopher Robin sags in the middle after Winnie the Pooh becomes an overnight success. There is a significant change in focus at this point, as AA Milne takes a back seat and his son Christopher comes to the fore. The final scenes of the movie are strong because we have seen the impact of Pooh’s fame on Christopher’s childhood, but the middle chapter still suffers from taking our attention from the most prominent character thus far (author Milne).
SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: You must be watching another movie if Goodbye Christopher Robin does not strike you as a cautionary tale about the toll of fame upon family. The final 20 minutes are a stark overview of the terrible effects which Winnie the Pooh’s popularity had on Christopher Robin. How his parents forced him into the international spotlight as a boy had negative consequences for their son, for much of his life. Although Goodbye Christopher Robin is set in a much different time and place, the allure and problems of global fame have only increased since Christopher Robin was a boy. As such, the warning about potential damage done to someone’s mental and emotional state, due to their parents lack of proper protection of them, remains powerful for viewers today.