Goodbye Christopher Robin tells the true story of Winnie the Pooh creator A.A. Milne and his family. As someone who grew up watching Winnie the Pooh VCDs religiously, I was pretty stoked to watch the film. Milne’s work has touched the hearts of millions all around the world, even till this day. With this film, I was hoping to find some insight through the biopic, expecting an endearing story behind the creation of one of the most beloved characters of all time.
Suffering from an undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving as a soldier in World War I, Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) keeps a careful emotional distance from his emotionally detached wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) and their often times neglected son Christopher, nicknamed Billy (Will Tilston).
Confined by his own depressed thoughts, Milne had initially failed to recognise the brightness and innocence of Billy. Over time however, the pair of father and son begun forming a close bond with one another. They’d talk as they wander through their idyllic surrounds, the duo conjure yet-to-be-legendary figures such as Eeyore, Tigger and, of course, Winnie-the-Pooh for the first time.
Billy soon became a great source of inspiration for Christopher Robin, the compassionate human lead of the stories that soon propel Milne to fame and fortune. However, Milne’s immense critical and financial success of his work comes with a great personal cost.
Part of what makes Goodbye Christmas Robin unique is that it doesn’t shy away from real world issues, and instead decides to tackle them head on. Issues such as PTSD, loneliness, and loss are important plot threads that weave the film together. The film paints Milne and his wife as morally grey characters, with Christopher being the casualty of a pair of parents who doesn’t put the need of their children as their priorities. The main cast of the film does a great job in painting three dimensional characters, breathing life into roles that require a deep sense of understanding that the characters require.
Through Goodbye Christopher Robin, the filmmakers behind the film manages to give a rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved A. A. Milne and his family. Through impeccable performances, eye-catching set pieces, and captivating storyline, Goodbye Christopher Robin succeeds in delivering a heartbreaking yet at times endearing film.
*Special thanks to 20th Century Fox for the press screening invitation. Goodbye Christopher Robin opens in cinemas on 19 April.