Goodbye Christopher Robin


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Goodbye Christopher Robin
"Biopics are seldom so well mannered" | Photo: 20th Century Fox

A return to the post WWII social mores is an exercise in repressed authoritarianism. Up tight is too cool an expression to describe this debilitating disease. When discussing the emotional damage of boarding school, added to post traumatic stress after WWI, and you have Alan Milne, played here by Domhnall Gleeson like a block of wood in a film that celebrates the creation of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Christopher Robin (Will Tilston better than promising in his premier role) is an only child. They call him Billy Moon and he calls his dad Blue. There must be a reason for this but it doesn't matter because you're not told. Mummy is Daphne (Aussie Margot Robbie) who likes to prune the roses in a cocktail dress and complain about A.A's lack of communication skills. She craves attention. She's one of those flutter-flutter-flatter-flatter posh tots who are all froth on top and ice under.

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The story of how Winnie makes it onto the page and where his pals come from, Tigger and Eyeore and all that lot, is a slow process. Milne has wartime flashbacks that knock him sideways. Billy Moon is starved of love until Olive (the ever wondrous Kelly Macdonald) is hired as his nanny. Daphne departs to the glitter and glitz of London while Blue and Billy Moon are left on the edge of Ashdown Forest, Sussex, where they live.

Milne is a popular playwright, Punch contributor and poet. Children's books are what he does when he's not writing The Red House Mystery, or The Man In The Bowler Hat. Irony of ironies, Billy Moon's bear books, illustrated by Alan's friend E H Shepard outsells everything he has ever done - and he did a lot.

The film works best when it explores the damaging aspects of fame as well as the importance of a woman like Olive in Billy Moon's life. Once he is deported to public school and Olive is given her marching orders Winnie and the 100 acre wood feel like part of another life. For Christopher/Billy what matters now is survival.

Biopics are seldom so well mannered.

"I will not let him see me blubbing," Daphne exclaims for fear that her husband might equate tears with weakness.

In The Stiff Upper Lip Club, off St James's, they will be raising a glass to Christopher, Alan and jolly old Pooh.

Single malt, no doubt, with a splash of soda.

Reviewed on: 27 Sep 2017
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Goodbye Christopher Robin packshot
A look at the life of author AA Milne and his most popular creation, Winnie-the-Pooh
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Director: Simon Curtis

Writer: Frank Cottrell Boyce, Simon Vaughan

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Macdonald, Margot Robbie, Will Tilston, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Stephen Campbell Moore, Geraldine Somerville, Nico Mirallegro, Alex Lawther, Richard McCabe, Honey Holmes, Simon Williams, Shaun Dingwall, Richard Dixon, Jason Matthewson

Year: 2017

Runtime: 107 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: UK


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