Everyone knows the name A.A. Milne and if not they certainly know all about Winnie the Pooh. Generations of children have been brought up on those stories and have owned the toys generated from them – I still have my Winnie the Pooh collection having never been able to throw them away! The stories themselves are much loved but the origins of where A.A. Milne got the inspiration for them was unknown. Goodbye Christopher Robin delves into Milne’s life and shows how his relationship with his son, Christopher Robin, helped to create a worldwide phenomenon.
Domhnall Gleeson (About Time, American Made, Harry Potter) takes on the role of Milne and gives an exceptional performance. It’s clear from the start – through flashbacks bursting into the everyday – that Milne is suffering from his time serving in WW1, and adjusting back to everyday life as a well-known playwright is difficult. Domhnall plays this perfectly, there is a real vulnerability to his character whenever he is transported back to the front line due to loud bangs – which makes his distance from his son understandable. Milne clearly doesn’t have any real relationship with his son so when they are left to fend for themselves for a few days they use the time to form a bond and from this Winnie the Pooh and all the other characters are created. Domhnall is a brilliant actor and has slowly made a name for himself, his role as Milne will certainly cement him amongst other great actors. His portrayal is instantly likeable as well as believable and you are taken on a real journey of emotions.
Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad, The Legend of Tarzan) is Daphne, wife of Milne and mother of Christopher, who comes across as being quite cold, only showing love to her son on rare occasions. If this is the truth then Margot does a great job at depicting Daphne! Kelly Macdonald (Brave, Harry Potter) is Olive, young Christopher Robin’s nanny and she gives an exceptional performance. Her love for the boy is evident and you can clearly see Olive biting back her thoughts as the treatment from both parents to young Christopher is severely lacking in care and attention. She forms a very close bond with Christopher – which is true to real life as we are shown at the end pictures of the two of them with the information that they remained close until her death years later.
The real stand out from the film though is the young Christopher Robin, played by Will Tilston in his first role. His performance is outstanding from such a young lad, every emotion is clear to see from the love towards his nanny to his yearning for some kind of relationship with his parents. It helps of course that he has the kind of face that everyone falls in love with instantly! Will Tilston will definitely be a name to watch out for in the future after this performance.
Overall, Goodbye Christopher Robin is a beautiful family film, there are moments of joy and laughter but ultimately it’s quite a sad tale of how the creation of Winnie the Pooh came about and the subsequent consequences its fame brought onto the young, real life, Christopher Robin. The opening sequence has you close to tears within minutes and the ending will most definitely have you crying! It’s a very well made film and the acting throughout is fantastic. I would thoroughly recommend it to all, and now I know the backstory to one of my favourite childhood books it brings a different feel to them and makes them all the more special.