‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ tells childhood story in new perspective
by Kia Harlan
Photo permission from foxsearchlight.com
Offering a unique glimpse into the creation of some favorite literary characters, the biographical drama “Goodbye Christopher Robin” gives audiences insight into how Alan Alexander Milne (A. A. Milne) created Winnie-the-Pooh.
Directed by Simon Curtis, best known for his work on “A Week With Marilyn” which portrayed the life of Marilyn Monroe, this film offers stunning cinematography. Set in early 1900’s in London, the realistic clothing, sets and attention to cultural customs and diction of the period transport audiences back in time.
The film begins with an urgent letter for the Milne parents with a message that their son has gone missing in the war and is presumed dead. The story then flashes back to A. A. Milne (Domnholl Gleeson) as an aspiring playwright dealing with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from World War I. Despite his wife Daphne Milne’s (Margot Robbie) misgivings, the family moves to a rural area outside of London, in order to get away from the noise that bothered him.
This real-life 500-Acre Ashdown Forest that Robin (Will Tilston) grew up in was later renamed the 100-Acre Wood in Winnie-the-Pooh. Isolated from the world, Robin only has his nanny (Kelly MacDonald), his stuffed animals and his imagination for company.
While fans of the book may expect Robin to have had a dream-like childhood, the film showed it to be quite the contrary. Most notably, the film seems to illustrate the
de-humanization of Robin and hints that he became a mere plaything to his parents; out of his loneliness he built the world of Winnie-the-Pooh. His nanny practically raised him, while his mother was too busy with her social events and his father was lost in his writing. His sporadic PTSD-related outbursts prevent him from bonding with Robin, who seems to become even more disconnected from his family when his life is suddenly publicized and the memories he made with Winnie-the-Pooh and friends are no longer solely his.
However, the heaviness of these events is countered with scenes telling the story behind how the characters in Winnie-the-Pooh came to be. Robin’s quick wit and humor may amuse fans of the book.
Despite its PG rating, this film seems intended for a more mature audience, due to how it portrays Robin’s loss of innocence and broken family. This biography may not provide fans with a heart-warming tale, but it is a must-watch as it helps viewers appreciate the sacrifice involved in creating the book.
With a PG rating, “Goodbye Christopher Robin” is now showing in local theaters.