“Goodbye Christopher Robin” tells the full story of author A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and the inspiration behind the world-renowned tales of “Winnie-the-Pooh.” It takes the audience through his life and the true background of his young son Christopher Robin Milne (Will Tilston), who was known as Billy Moon to his family.
With Margot Robbie as Daphne de Sélincourt, A. A. Milne’s wife, and Kelly Macdonald as Olive, better known as Nou, Christopher Robin’s nanny, the film opens the audience’s eyes to the many challenges and successes their family faced.
The movie shows a darker side to the classic childhood tale. Screenwriters Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Simon Vaughan drew upon the memoirs of C. R. Milne to show the relationship between Billy and his father. Domhnall’s portrayal of A. A. Milne was fantastic. Each emotion he experiences is thoroughly felt by the audience.
The film is also a story of post-war trauma. A. A. Milne suffers severe PTSD from World War One but is accompanied by a fellow war veteran E. H. Shepard, (Stephen Campbell Moore). He acts as support during his “shell-shock” moments and would also later become an illustrator for the “Winnie-the-Pooh” books. The traumatic flashbacks scattered throughout the movie kept the tone intense and suspenseful.
Daphne portrays, at a low-level, the movie’s villain. Her ambition and stubbornness affects her relationship with A. A. Milne as well as Billy’s childhood. Daphne becomes frustrated with Milne’s lack of work, leaving to London, and Nou is called away by family illness. At this point, A. A. Milne and his son create the heart of the film. The film is filled with constant references to the “Winnie-the-Pooh” stories, and the father and son bonding charms the audience as Billy unknowingly creates the adventures of Pooh Bear.
Directed by Simon Curtis, “Goodbye Christopher Robin” defied my expectations and told a tale of sentiment, suspense, and the magic of childhood.