MOVIE REVIEW: Goodbye Christopher Robin

The true story of Winnie the Pooh creator A. A. Milne, and his relationship with his son, the real life inspiration of Christopher Robin.  Milne served in World War One, and when he returns the effects of the battles endured are still taking their toll, and he sets out to write a book about how pointless war is.  During this time his wife gives birth to their only child, who they call Billy Moon, although his real name is Christopher Robin.  They move to the country and Father and Son become close, and through playing together, and healing Milne, create the world of Winnie.  The film then charts the after effects of the huge success that Winnie becomes.

When a writer creates a world you never know where it’s going to go.  In modern times you only have to look at Harry Potter to see the effect that a character and world’s creation can bring to the authors world.  Nearly 100 years ago the same was true for Milne, although he had some success before the creation of Winnie, which is different to the Harry Potter author.

I have to clarify that there is nothing overly wrong with this film, with the exception of Margot Robbie’s accent, which changes and becomes very stage school over excited for no reason.  That’s the biggest gripe that I have with this film.  You can’t fault the other performances, Kelly Macdonald as the Nanny is superb, and Will Tilston as young Christopher is fantastic.  Domhnall Gleeson plays Milne and the stiff upper lip is conveyed through a straight as a poker performance that shows that these men that returned from The War to End all Wars were not back as the men that they were.

The production values of the film are exceptionally high and there is a lush feeling to the setting of post World War One England.  Robbie’s character, the Wife and Mother, is pretty much the most unlikable character that you can imagine and the amount of times you hoped that Milne would leave her for the Nanny will leave you dumbfounded.

It’s only when the character of Christopher Robin from the book and Winnie become huge stars that the life of the real child becomes more about selling the books and the publicity that you see what whore’s we authors really are.  If you’ve ever written anything and feel that you wouldn’t go as far as Milne did then you are kidding yourself big time.  But you feel sorry for the young kid that just wants to spend time with his father and be happy again.  As the real Christopher grows up he wants to serve in World War Two and this brings a real drama to the film.

The thing that kept going through my mind was that this is basically a high budget and really well done Hallmark channel movie.  We’re talking about the high-end of Hallmark movies through.  I don’t want you to get me wrong, the film is perfectly enjoyable, it’s just that there are a few editing moments that leave you scratching your head.  With this cast and that budget this should have had a knock out punch rather than reaching one level and staying there.  It’s worth checking out for the history of Winnie the Pooh.

Director:  Simon Curtis
Writers:  Frank Cottrell BoyceSimon Vaughan
Stars: Margot RobbieDomhnall GleesonKelly Macdonald & more…. See full cast & crew

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