This is one of the under-the-radar gems of 2017. Goodbye Christopher Robin delivers on strong emotions from multiple angles. It made my cry, be informed and look back on my childhood and relationship with my father. On the surface this film is about the creation of the Winnie the Pooh story, but beneath the surface it’s about that and a lot more.
WHAT’S THIS MOVIE ABOUT:
It’s the real life story of Winnie the Pooh creator A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and relationship with his son Christopher Robin (yes, the boy from Winnie the Pooh). The film offers a peek behind the curtain in the life of the Milne’s. It’s not necessarily a picturesque peek into their lives, which makes the film that more compelling. The first act details the inner struggles that A.A. endured with. The PTSD that haunted him, yet, he couldn’t talk about, due to the shame returning soldiers had about their undiagnosed traumatic conditions.
Milne isn’t given a flawless portrayal as human being, he’s very flawed and conflicted. He doesn’t have any sense of what it’s like to be a father, but neither does his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie), who’d rather just attend lavish receptions and let the nanny take care of the boy. It’s not until the second half of the movie that it starts delving into the Winnie the Pooh stories.
HOW DID THE ACTORS DO:
Domhnall Gleeson stars as A.A. Milne, and he encompasses his inner turmoil and brilliance as effectively as possible. His scenes with Will Tilston who plays Christopher Robin are meaningful and emotional. Margot Robbie really surprised me. She does a terrific English accent, particular to the Sussex region. She’s stylish and exudes beauty as always, but this may be her first notably unlikable character she’s played. Daphne is anything but a nurturing and caring mother and loyal wife. Tilston has the best bowl haircut and most incredible dimples that radiate on-screen. Robin is such a cute and likable character, unlike his parents. Kelly Macdonald plays the nanny Olive, and she steals the show with her love and dedication.
The acting is very good and the casting may not look ideal on paper, but on-screen it makes all the sense in the world. Yes, that means Robbie was perfect in the mother role.
HOW DID THE MOVIE LOOK AND SOUND:
The look is very fitting with the time period the story takes place in, 1940’s-50’s. The English countryside looks gorgeous. The most poignant scene is the one in which Christopher Robbin and A.A. share a touching moment together, it’s s a key point in the movie (don’t worry not a spoiler). The rock they sit on, the hill surrounded by the woods and overlooking a gorgeous landscape below, is just stunning visual work.
The score composed by Carter Burwell is outstanding. Not only does it fit with the movie theme, but it’s one that projects the emotions of the scenes.
WAS IT ENTERTAINING:
I didn’t know what to expect of this film. The story of the Winnie the Pooh origins does sound interesting, but is it entertaining? Yes. The movie won’t entertain you with fancy effects, explosions or sex appeal, but it entertains with the most important element—story. It’s engrossing and emotionally fulfilling. Not once did I lose interest or didn’t care about investing further into the story.
IS IT WORTH SEEING:
Well cast, with terrific performances. A story where it’s easy to invest into. The film honors the origins of the Pooh story and focuses on the relationships and the people behind it, which ends up being more interesting than the Pooh story. Personally, I found it hard to hold back emotions, maybe because I related it to my relationship with my father.
The only question that remains unanswered and touched upon was the Disney connection. There is no mention of Disney, even in the end credits story follow-up. I wish that was addressed at some point, because majority of people are familiar with Winnie the Pooh due to Disney. That’s how I was introduced to it. Heck, I didn’t even know that it wasn’t a Disney entity prior to this film.
Overall, director Simon Curtis manages to capture the emotions of the story and the father-son relationship. Goodbye Christopher Robin tackles some real life issues. The commentary on PTSD and child celebrity parents. Robin may have been the first child star, and his parents pushed him out like cattle, to the boys dismay. The personal family connection is ultimately what this movie is about. The regret, sorrow, joy and emotional vulnerability. By the end of the film I was genuinely teared up. This story got me. The cute bear, piglet, donkey and tiger were just the icing on the cake.
- Movie Rating: PG
- Genre: Biography, Family, History
- Runtime: 1 hr 47 min
- Release Date: Friday, October 20, 2017 (Chicago & Wide)