Don't mistake this pretty British drama about the inspiration behind the beloved Winnie the Pooh children's books as being for all the family. A mash-up of adult themes means it's more suited to those who've had time to become nostalgic about Pooh rather than those being read the stories at bedtime.
Quietly moving and affecting, Goodbye Christopher Robin tells the story of young Christopher Robin (known to his parents as Billy Moon) played by Will Tilston, and father A.A. Milne played by Domhnall Gleeson - set during a period when they're briefly deserted by the women in their lives, Milne's wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) and Billy's Nanny Nou (Kelly Macdonald).
The boys fend for themselves by creating an imaginary world with Billy's much-loved soft toys in their Sussex hundred-acre wood. Milne, a successful playwright, has struggled to write since the Great War; making people laugh is no longer his priority, "I want to make them see!", he claims. Capturing Billy's adventures (and childhood) on paper gives Milne respite from writing about the war - turns out, it was just what the rest of the world needed too.
More than telling the origin of the name Winnie the Pooh, this story is really about the crippling impact of post-traumatic stress syndrome and how it affected Milne, who was haunted daily by flashbacks to his time on the Western Front in 1916.
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Director Simon Curtis also sends a pertinent warning about sharing our children's lives with the world. That so much of their special time together was borrowed for monetary gain, and that his parents let Christopher became a media darling to promote the book was a contentious issue between Milne and Billy in later life - an issue which is wrapped up too simply at the film's conclusion.
Gleeson presents a great example of a conflicted character, while Macdonald as Nanny Nou provides the moral compass and inevitably the most emotional moments. Possibly miscast as Milne's socialite wife, Robbie struggles to settle into character; the star though is Tilston - this kid is extraordinary.
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie
Director: Simon Curtis
Running Time: 107 mins
Rating: PG (Low level violence)
Verdict: A slightly melancholic portrayal of how art comes from suffering.
DID YOU KNOW...
Mel Gibson plays Mark Wahlberg's father in the Christmas comedy Daddy's Home 2, however, in real life Gibson is only 15 years older than Wahlberg.