Goodbye Christopher Robin: Film Review

I love myself a weepy biopic but I didn’t quite realise that Goodbye Christopher Robin would be so emotional as I (foolishly) had no idea about what happened behind-the-scenes of Winnie-the-Pooh and how it caused a rift within the Milne family.

Domhnall Gleeson stars as author AA Milne who has returned from war and asks his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) to relocate from their high society circle in London to the countryside where they have their son Christopher, who is nicknamed Billy Moon (Will Tilston).

He is basically raised by his nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald) but when she leaves for a short time, his dad has to step up. They go on adventures in the nearby woods with his toys and Milne gets inspiration for a book about a bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. He creates a character after his son, who becomes famous thanks to the phenomenal worldwide sales of his books, something which drives a wedge between them.

I had no idea about the origins of the book or the family struggles so this was both fascinating and enlightening. It was far more heartbreaking than I expected and I couldn’t help but have a weep, especially when we met older Christopher (Alex Lawther) who has the face of someone who has had a difficult life, the complete opposite of the cheery earlier Billy.

I love Gleeson and Robbie in everything but the star of the show is Tilston, in his acting debut. He is fantastic. He is such a happy child but he becomes hurt and confused by fame, why people want a piece of him and why his dad doesn’t want to play with him anymore. He would rather have a simple life playing with Olive than having to do interviews and public appearances.

Milne is completely oblivious to the pain he is causing his son because he is too busy basking in his glory but stops later on once the damage is already done. You see the regret in his eyes and Gleeson does this very well. It was a different part to what he usually plays and I enjoyed it.

Robbie plays a horrible person, who is more concerned with her position in society than her son, while Macdonald is ace as Olive, who has a beautiful relationship with Christopher and is the only one who can make his parents see what they are doing to him, essentially treating him like a show pony.

I expected this to be a light-hearted, soppy piece given the happy nature of the books so I was so surprised by how dark and serious it was, especially near the end. It tells an engrossing story, looks beautiful and features excellent performances. Tissues are advised.

In cinemas 29th September

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