Not really being a big Winnie-the-Pooh fan (I did not grow up reading the stories), I didn’t know what to expect from the film. Well…, I was completely won over by its themes, personalities and exceptional performances. I can now only imagine how enthusiastic the Milne aficionados will be!
A mostly credible interpretation of what is known and most of it more-or-less accords with Christopher Milne’s own memoirs.
As this serious biopic shows us, Milne’s wistful lightness of touch as a writer came from quite a heavy place.
After leaving London for the English countryside, writer A.A. Milne starts to spin fanciful yarns about his son’s growing collection of stuffed animals. These stories form the basis for Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, published respectively in 1926 and 1928. Milne and his family soon become swept up in the instant success of the books, while the enchanting tales bring hope and comfort to the rest of postwar England.
One aspect interesting in Goodbye Christopher Robin was its approach to the subject of celebrity. The film tackles the trials and tribulations that are associated with child stars. There’s no denying that it’s a very serious topic and the presentation here is incredibly melancholic. Director Simon Curtis has done a terrific job at balancing not just the theme of celebrity but also the aspects of family-life and the PTSD suffered by Milne during his time serving in the First World War.
Younger fans of Winnie-the-Pooh may not find an awful lot to enjoy, sure there are lighter moments and seeing the steps took to bring the stories to life will be interesting for the smaller ones. However, this movie is aimed at a more mature audience. The themes of war, struggles, stress, depression and failure are all prevalent and at times are at odds with the (wonderful) moments of levity. If you’re after a solid drama, with the added bonus of its subject’s popularity and possible nostalgic memories, then this will satisfy.
UK 2017, 107 min, rated PG (low level violence)
Directed by Simon Curtis
Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Kelly Macdonald, Will Tilston & Stephen Campbell Moore