At the Movies: Goodbye Christopher Robin

I had the opportunity to attend a pre-screening of this movie. All opinions are strictly our own.

Goodbye Christopher Robin

With a cast to take note of, with Domhnall Gleason as A.A. Milne, Will Tilston as the young Christopher Robin (Billy Moon) Milne, Margot Robbie as Mrs. Golighty Flighty Milne, and Kelly Macdonald as the great Nanny, Goodbye Christopher Robin has some great moments and some staid, stereotyped moments also in the gloom of One Hundred Acre Wood.

A.A. Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh and Winnie’s friends, resonates as a father both cruel and thoughtful.  Director Simon Curtis allows us to see A.A. Milne as a survivor of WWI and PTSD which prompts his noninterest in his young son, Christopher Robin.  Daphne Milne, his wife, has no interest in children except to gift her son stuffed animals.  She appears flighty and self-absorbed to the degree of narcissistic, although Blue, as A.A. Milne is called, is perhaps even more narcissistic.  Nanny Olive is the only caregiver in Billy Moon’s young life, and when Olive cannot take his parents’ cruelty to Billy anymore, she must leave, thus catapulting Billy’s mother to leave also to take care of her ill mother.  Left alone with his stiff upper lip father, Billy and Blue bond over taking Billy’s beloved stuffed animals into the woods in Ashdown Forest to play.  Finally, we see Alan Milne begin to enjoy his son and the tales that they tell, naming Billy’s bear after a bear from Winnipeg that they see at the zoo.

Once the tales become so popular that they take over the Milne’s lives, and Billy becomes a puppet for the stories, being shown off all over England and used by his parents to promote the books, we turn to Billy’s viewpoint as he struggles to maintain some sort of self.  Olive, his nanny, has told his parents off at this point, and left, so Billy is left on his own to survive two parents totally out of sync with their child.

Domhnall Gleeson and Will Tilston in the film GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN. Photo by David Appleby. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Unfortunately, the film fails to provide a psychological forum for the family dysfunction.  It rails from Billy to A.A. Milne and back, and we as the audience are pummeled with an A.A. Milne we sometimes hate sometimes love and a Billy whose dimples are more attractive than the screenwriting.

Still worth watching as I left with a tear in my eye and an intense curiosity to read more about the life of Christopher Robin Milne, who never talked to his parents again after he joined the army.



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