Review: ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ pooh-poohs fame
Turns out the story of Winnie the Pooh is a real Eeyore.
“Goodbye Christopher Robin” tells the tale of the creation of Winnie the Pooh, one of the best-loved children’s stories and characters of all-time. While it was a creative triumph, it was born of deep personal anguish, and caused a massive rift in author Alan Milne’s relationship with his young son.
In this handsome-but-stiff period telling, Domhnall Gleeson plays Milne, an ex-soldier suffering from PTSD following World War I. His shrill wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of time for their son, Christopher Robin (Will Tilston), so child-rearing duties are largely left to their sweet-natured nanny, Olive (Kelly Macdonald).
Milne is a writer looking to connect with people beyond his frivolous humorist musings; during a walk in the woods with his son he’s inspired to write the story of Pooh. Christopher Robin winds up becoming the star of the Pooh tale, which brings an unfortunate spotlight on the child himself. It’s like if J.K. Rowling had a real-life son named Harry Potter. Curses, if only he’d changed the bloody name!
“Goodbye Christopher Robin” isn’t so much a tribute to Pooh as it is a cautionary tale about the trappings of fame when thrust upon ordinary, unwilling subjects, which make it as timely today as ever. But director Simon Curtis (“My Week With Marilyn”) drags the story through all the routine period motions, where everybody looks and talks and dresses like they’re in a stately prestige film. The point is to show the people were behind “Pooh” were real, but here everything feels like part of a story.
‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’
Rated PG for thematic elements, some bullying, war images and brief language
Running time: 107 minutes