Goodbye Christopher Robin may seem like a sweet movie from the outside in terms of marketing about the man who created Winnie the Pooh, but this film explores a very dark side to the people who inspired the beloved children’s character. Domhnall Gleeson plays Alan Milne, a WWI Veteran and writer with a serious case of PTSD in a time where people didn’t even want to acknowledge the condition existed. Alan decides he has had enough of the big city and moves his socialite wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) and small son Christopher Robin (Newcomer Will Tilston) to a new country home that will end up being their own Hundred Acre Wood.
As stated before, do not expect a movie that focuses on the creative process of bringing Pooh, Piglet and Tigger to the masses. That section of Alan Milne’s life is only a small part of this film. Director Simon Curtis chooses to start the story showing Milne’s gory flashbacks from the War as he unsuccessfully tries to maneuver everyday life after witnessing the horrors of war. At first it seems Goodbye Christopher Robin is going to be a film about the Veteran’s mindset after the “War to end all Wars” dealing with a disorder people thought you could drink away, but this is when the problems really start with the film.
Goodbye Christopher Robin abandons the PTSD storyline that could have shed an important light on the poor service men of the early 20th Century who dealt with this terrible condition in favor of a story about fame corrupting the family dynamic. Just as you are warming up to the players who created Pooh, they turn into money hungry stage parents who exploit their own son with his new-found fame being seen as a real life Christopher Robin in the public’s eye. The story about fame corrupting nice individuals is nothing new to the audience so it’s a shame to see this theme given ample screen time over the more compelling ideas of a soldier from the past dealing with the demons of the battlefield.
The fame storyline is also dumped abruptly in the 3rd act turning to a New War as the focus of the film dealing with the loss of lives and regrets that surrounds this tragic event. Goodbye Christopher Robin just can’t seem to make up its mind as to what kind of film it wants to be preventing the audience from feeling anything towards the characters or actions taking place on-screen. It also doesn’t help that most of the characters are very unlikable and the audience is subjected to their selfish thinking when they would rather be watching Pooh try to score some honey.
Overall, I give Goodbye Christopher Robin 2 out of 4 stars.
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