Note: This is a spoiler-free Goodbye Christopher Robin review
Winnie The Pooh played a big part in a lot of childhoods. The iconic characters, iconic quotes, and iconic stories are well known. Less known is how they were created and the tumultuous backstory that goes with the success.
Goodbye Christopher Robin is all around beautiful and brilliant, evoking nearly every emotion while telling a fascinating story in an entertaining way.
Where to start with this film. The strongest aspect of Goodbye Christopher Robin is the ability to grab the audience throughout. Plenty of credit to go all around for that, specifically for writers Frank Cottrell Boyce and Simon Vaughan. They bring the story of A.A Milne and Winnie The Pooh to life, and director Simon Curtis puts their vision on the screen perfectly.
The dry, English humor will make you laugh. Daphne Milne will make you angry. A.A. Milne will make you facepalm. The relationship between C.R. Milne and his nanny, Olive will melt your heart. The relationship between father and son will make you cry. All this in a film that is only 107 minutes long, so there’s never a slow moment.
While the story is an origin of Winnie The Pooh in a way, the film is much more about A.A. Milne and his relationship with C.R. Winnie and his friends are included the right amount to connect with the audience, but don’t go into Goodbye Christopher Robin expecting a Winnie The Pooh story.
The cinematography is worth mentioning as well. The film opens with a beautiful shot in the woods, and the scenery continues throughout. I enjoyed getting a “real life” look at the Thousand Acre Woods and where they originated.
A Trio Of Terrific Actors
Quality writing, directing, and cinematography is great, but without quality acting Goodbye Christopher Robin simply wouldn’t be able to achieve what it does. That starts with Christopher Robin himself. Introducing Will Tilston.
In Tilston’s acting debut he carries many scenes with wit and emotion. It’s difficult being the focal point of a film as a child actor, and he captures your attention and heart immediately.
The film not only has some great individual performances but includes great chemistry as well. This is most evident between Christopher Robin and his nanny Olive, played by Kelly Macdonald. In a film all about the relationship between father and son, Olive is actually the closest thing C.R. has to a parental figure. They connect in a way that is real and relatable. Tilston and Macdonald have a great chemistry that displays that on screen.
Ironically enough A.A. Milne, played by Dohmnall Gleeson, doesn’t really stand out individually. It’s his relationships with the people around him that are a large part of what makes the film. Again Tilston features prominently here (obviously), as the father-son relationship proves the overwhelming theme of this story. From the ups of creating Winnie’s world to the downs of the aftermath, this specific tie encapsulates all the emotion the movie has. Again great chemistry between these two.
Throughout Milne is portrayed as a blunt, selfish man but his true emotion and thoughts come out in his writing. Classic tortured writer syndrome. The character is built well, and Gleeson portrays it well.
Margot Robbie‘s performance as Daphne Milne is also noteworthy. Daphne is divisive and demeaning, playing the opposite end of the spectrum as C.R. and Olive. Her role here is vital to show the contrast of her own son’s role with his nanny. Robbie grabs the role of Daphne and runs with it, continuing to show off her range as a solid actress.
Should I Go See Goodbye Christopher Robin?
Please see the previous 600 words for the obvious answer.
In all seriousness, Goodbye Christopher Robin deserves some serious award consideration. I’m not sure how much it will get, but it’s a great kickoff as we approach awards season. In the end, you’ll find yourself wishing you could go back to page one and do it all over again.
Image courtesy of heyuguys.com