Goodbye Christopher Robin (PG)
Release date: 29th September 2017
From IMDB: A rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children’s author A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his son Christopher Robin, whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne (Margot Robbie), and his nanny Olive, Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family?
Biased though I am, Domhnall Gleeson was a delight as A. A. Milne (However, he’s also a delight in Dredd, so yup, biased). So much so, I almost forget how much of a shite father he is to his son, Christopher Robin.
There’s a charm to his understated performance that brings the character a sense of amusement, yet world weary from the troubles of war. My heart lifted every time I saw his smile and heard his soothing voice during the playful scenes in the woods with his son.
It’s a perfect(ish) Sunday afternoon film, full of warmth and colour and a twee sense of Britishness. There is an uplifting essence despite the somewhat downward turn the plot takes.
Alas, this was not a work of fiction, but a biopic. So while a film played for entertainment would have everyone cheery and the film would end as the book hits the shelves.
Instead, we see the family tormented by fame and the challenges of PTSD in a country recovering from war. Christopher Robin grows up frustrated, confused and resentful of his intimate time with his father being sold for mass consumption.
It feels a little wrong, much like Theory of Everything, watching a family come undone. Especially in such an emotionally repressed manner.
While Margot Robbie should be applauded for her performance, I absolutely detested the character of Daphne. The wife of A. A. Milne is the fundamental flaw in what could be a heart-warming tale.
This upper class, emotionally stunted woman is like Lady Macbeth; blackmailing her husband and showing no love to her child, it is her actions that lead to the publication of the stories and the emotional scaring of her child.
I almost, at one point, hoped for an affair between Blue and the Nanny; Olive. I’d have understood and even encouraged the affair; Milne keeps his emotions in check due to the reprimand of his wife. A bittersweet thought remains in my head; how well adjusted would Christopher have been had Blue just told his wife where to go?!
It again, makes it harder that this is real life. While I have no doubt, some licence has been taken with the biography; I refuse to believe it would be at such defamation of a person.
While there are some tears to be shed, there isn’t quite enough for it to be cathartic. It will be one I’ll intend to rewatch, but perhaps never will. It’s something for those who enjoyed Saving Mr Banks and I fully expect some Oscar nominations (Gleeson, Robbie, Costume) in the new year.