Starring Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie This biopic tells the story behind author A.A.
Milne’s classic Winnie the Pooh books.
It is highly overproduced and has a sickly musical score which lets down what is otherwise a delightful story.
The film opens in those somber days after World War I, when Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) returns from the battlefield deeply stressed with what we now call PTSD.
He was in the vicious Battle of Somme, which killed or maimed more than one million soldiers.
Back in London his socialite wife, Daphne (Margot Robbie), refuses to tolerate talk of his suffering and has her own handproblems coping with the ordeal of childbirth, a process she did not expect given her ladylike ignorance of her own body.
Into this dysfunctional family comes an innocent boy they christen Christopher Robin (Will Tilston) and address as Billy Moon.
While his parents continue to enjoy the activities of high society, he’s left almost entirely in the charge of his devoted nanny.
It takes years before, temporarily alone one summer in the countryside, father and son finally bond and we see the magical adventures that the title led us to expect.
It is the countryside where Milne finds his greatest inspiration and where they discover and develop both Winnie’s universe, and their relationship as father and son.
The film is a story about his suffering as much as it is about the magical Hundred Acre Wood where Christopher Robin, Pooh and the other animals live.
It’s very interesting to see the original versions of Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, and the gang as Milne’s stories and poems from this period became an enormous sensation in the U.K.
It becomes obvious that one world could not have existed without the other.
If Milne hadn’t been trying to escape from the shadows of the war, he wouldn’t have written the Pooh books in the first place.
The irony is the destructive effect the books have on his own family.
At times, he seems to care more about his work and reputation than he does about his own son, who is the subject of the books.
Discarding historical inaccuracies “Goodbye Christopher Robin” is a beautiful testament to a father, his son, and the world they created that we all know and love.
The movie stands alongside Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” (our other review today) as one of this year’s films that will most delight lovers of artistic style.
Rated PG 8 out of 10