By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
"Goodbye Christopher Robin,"
from director Simon Curtis,
is a bittersweet, yet fascinating story about A.A. Milne, the author of the beloved and best-selling “Winnie-the-Pooh” children’s books and his young son Christopher Robin (a terrific Will Tilston), the inspiration behind them.
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Domnhall Gleeson (“Mother!) stars as Milne, a comedy playwright and former World War I vet, who returns to London unable to shake off the horrors of battle and write much of anything.
His socialite wife Daphne (Margot Robbie, “Suicide Squad”) tries to make the best of their loveless marriage. She truly wanted a girl and not a boy which explains in part why Christopher Robin--aka Billy Moon as his family calls him—sometimes wears dainty looking clothing.
Milne convinces Daphne to join him in rural Sussex, where he hopes to find a bit more solace and creative spark. She’s not keen on the idea, but agrees to stay, with the condition that Milne will actually write the book he’s been promising.
Neither Milne nor Daphne are great parents to little Christopher and often their desires are placed above his. His expressive face conveys his pain and sadness.
Fortunately, Christopher’s nanny, Olive (Kelly Macdonald, “T2 Trainspotting”) adores him and Christopher reciprocates his love for her.
When Olive has to leave for a week to care for her sick mother, Christopher Robin is crushed and begs her to stay. Milne has no clue how to cook or care for his own child.
But a funny and wonderful thing happens when Milne and Christopher Robin take a walk in the woods with Christopher clutching onto his dear teddy bear.
The father and son are soon talking, laughing and even playing.
From this touching family moment, Milne gets the idea to create these wildly imaginative stories about Christopher’s teddy bear along with a few other animals like a tiger (Tigger) and piglet.
For Christopher it’s merely fun and games. The joy of spending time with his father is priceless. But Milne sees something much bigger and potentially lucrative with his son’s newfound animal kingdom.
He calls on his fellow vet and cartoon illustrator Ernest Shepard (Stephen Campbell Moore, TV’s “The Last Poet”) and soon there are books filled with sketches of Christopher Robin and his “Pooh” bear and other furry friends.
What started out as child’s play becomes an overnight sensation after Milne decides to go public with his drawings and accompanying poems.
Soon, reporters, photographers and tons of fans are eager to meet Christopher Robin and the author of Winnie-the-Pooh.
Poor Christopher Robin never wanted any of the fame and attention that was thrust upon him and which nearly destroyed him. His parents however, couldn’t resist the critical acclaim. They loved every minute of the exposure without realizing how much it was affecting their son.
When Christopher Robin turned 18, (played by Alex Lawther, “The Imitation Game”), he resented his parents exploiting him and vowed to make a name for himself by joining the army in 1941.
Director Simon Curtis, whose credits include “My Week with Marilyn,” delivers another stirring and riveting drama with “Goodbye Christopher Robin.” It’s a heartwarming and beautifully rendered story with superb performances all around. Don’t forget to bring the Kleenex.
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Check Out This Trailer For "GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.