GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (PG)
D: Simon Curtis
Fox Searchlight/Gasworks (Steve Christian & Damian Jones)
UK 🇬🇧 2017
W: Frank Cottrell-Boyce & Simon Vaughan
DP: Ben Smithard
Ed: Victoria Boydell
Mus: Carter Burwell
PD: David Roger
Cos: Odile Dicks-Mireaux
Domhnall Gleeson (A.A. Milne), Margot Robbie (Daphne de Selincourt), Alex Lawther (Christopher Robin Milne), Kelly MacDonald (Olive)
When a film claims to be "inspired by true events", it usually transpires to be mostly fictional. Goodbye Christopher Robin is a victim of its own dramatisation, but this doesn't stop it from being a pleasant film, albeit schmaltzy and a little too manipulative at moments.
The story follows the creation of Alan (A.A.) Milne's Winnie The Pooh, a beloved piece of literature for children and adults alike. Milne, an aristocratic playwright and veteran of the First World War, moves to a country retreat with his high society wife so he can cope with PTSD and write his new work, an anti-war piece. He and his wife, Daphne, also suffering from post-natal trauma, hire nanny Olive to look after their son, Christopher Robin, who they call Billy Moon as a pet name.
When Daphne moves back to London and Olive has to spend time with her dying mother. Alan forms a relationship with son and his toys which inspires the world of Winnie The Pooh, which comes at a price when fans of the book realise that Christopher Robin is a real person, robbing the young man of his childhood as he is thrust into a world of fame.
The film is at its most powerful when it tells a lesson of too much too soon, and the price of fame at the expense of childhood, but turns its back on this sentiment for a manipulative final act.
Domhnall Gleeson gives a good performance as the stuffy author, but Margot Robbie is given a very two-dimensional part as an antagonistic mother. The best performances of the film belong to Alex Lawther, whose cuteness may infuriate some, and Kelly MacDonald, who quite possibly steals the entire film as young Christopher Robin's nanny and best friend.