GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN
A rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children's author A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his son Christopher Robin (various), whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne (Margot Robbie), and his nanny Olive, Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family?
Review by Louise Keller:
Buoyed by its impeccable credits, this handsome production with sweeping score and fine performances is pleasing to the eye and not without its charms, but bears the weight of artifice. Director Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn) knows how to tell a story and this true story of the relationship between children's author A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin is punctuated by sadness. The truth behind the creation of the best-selling book about the teddy bear, Winnie-the-Pooh and other soft animal toy friends is not one that inspires warm thoughts about a close, loving relationship between father and son. It is a story about torment: a father tormented by war and a son tormented by his lost childhood. Predictably syrupy at times and emotionally manipulative, the film's legacy is its cinematic imagery and a lasting melancholy. It somewhat destroys the magic of characters with whom we have been brought up.
It is impossible to warm to Christopher Robin's parents (played by Domnhall Gleeson and Margot Robbie) and this keeps us at arm's length. Gleeson succeeds admirably however, at portraying the impotence of A.A. Milne as a father and his torment and jumpy nature resulting from his experiences in the war. Robbie does not fare as well: her ravishing beauty seems to be all she has to offer and there is little depth in performance as the selfish, thoughtless mother, Daphne. One of the most shocking moments comes when Christopher Robin (known as Billy Moon) asks his mother 'Are you my manager?' as he is unashamedly flaunted to the media and world in a never-ending flurry of publicity, as the success of his father's book characters' creation becomes evident. It is not the author that the world is after; it is the little boy and the wonderful reality created in The 100 Acre Wood. What would a normal, eight year-old boy wish for: a brass band for his birthday or a loving family? It is Kelly Macdonald as the child's devoted nanny who wins our affections - her warmth and sincerity shine like a beacon.
As Christopher Robin, Will Tilston is commendable in his feature film debut, although those chubby cheeks and ever-present dimple read a little too cute. Not surprisingly, the circumstances that lead to the naming of Winnie-the-Pooh get our attention. These involve a Canadian grizzly, a lone swan and a much-loved bear. Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Tigger also make an appearance.
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GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (PG)
CAST: Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Kelly Macdonald, Will Tilson, Alex Lawther, Stephen Campbell Moore, Richard McCabe, Geraldine Somerville, Dexter Hyman, Sonny Hyman
PRODUCER: Mark Hubbard
DIRECTOR: Simon Curtis
SCRIPT: Frank Cottree Boyc, Simon Vaughan
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ben Smithard
EDITOR: Victoria Boydell
MUSIC: Carter Burwell
PRODUCTION DESIGN: David Roger
RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 23, 2017