Goodbye Christopher Robin

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Goodbye Christopher Robin
Goodbye Christopher Robin.png
British release poster
Directed by Simon Curtis
Produced by
Written by
Starring
Music by Carter Burwell[1]
Cinematography Ben Smithard
Edited by Victoria Boydell
Production
company
  • DJ Films
  • Gasworks Media
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release date
Running time
107 minutes[2]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $7.2 million[3]

Goodbye Christopher Robin is a 2017 British biographical drama film about the lives of Winnie-the-Pooh creator A. A. Milne and his family, especially his son Christopher Robin. It was directed by Simon Curtis and written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Simon Vaughan, and stars Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, and Kelly Macdonald. The film premiered in the United Kingdom on 29 September 2017.

Plot[edit]

The film begins during WWII in 1941, with Alan Alexander Milne – nicknamed "Blue" by his friends and family – and his wife Daphne receiving a distressing telegram at their home. It then changes time frame to 1916 during WWI with Blue fighting in the Battle of the Somme. He resumes his life with Daphne in England while suffering shell shock of occasional flashbacks to his battle experiences, and having a child with Daphne. She was hoping for a girl and is disappointed to instead have a son, whom they name Christopher Robin Milne but generally call "Billy Moon". They hire a nanny, Olive, whom Billy calls "Nou".

Blue is having difficulty resuming his writing – he wants to draft a compelling treatise against war – and relocates the family to a house in the country with wooded acreage. Daphne resents the move and returns to London for an extended period. During that time, Olive goes to care for her dying mother and the cook takes some time off, leaving Blue and Billy to fend for themselves. Reluctantly at first, Blue takes Billy along on walks in the woods and begins making up stories about the boy's adventures with the stuffed animals the parents have bought for him.

Blue invites his illustrator friend Ernest to join them at the house, and together they begin to develop the Winnie-the-Pooh books. Daphne returns to the house after Blue sends her a poem, "Vespers", that she has published in Vanity Fair. Olive returns following her mother's death. After the Winnie-the-Pooh books become a success, Daphne manages their newfound celebrity. As Christopher Robin, Billy makes frequent public appearances which he finds confusing and frustrating.

When Billy learns that Olive has a beau, Alfred, he tells his parents, after which Daphne feels betrayed and confronts Olive nastily. Olive becomes angry with Blue and Daphne, resigns, and admonishes them for what they have been putting Billy through. Blue resolves to stop writing about the boy and his imaginary friends.

Blue ends Billy's publicity activities and enrolls him at a boarding school. However, "Christopher Robin" is bullied at the school and emerges bitter toward his father. When WWII breaks out, Billy is initially declared unfit for the draft, but he demands that his well-connected father – despite being horrified by war and the prospect of his son experiencing what he did – convince the army to accept him regardless. Billy leaves for service, turning his back on his father and disowning the books and the money from them.

The opening scene is replayed, this time explaining that Billy has been reported missing and is presumed dead – news his parents pass along to Olive. However, Billy has survived and arrives at the country house without warning, leading to awkward but tearful reunions with his parents and Olive. Blue and Billy reconcile and, in the final scenes, they walk together through the woods, showing Billy as both a young child and young man.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development on the project first began in 2010, with Steve Christian and Nuala Quinn-Barton, and subsequently Damian Jones, as producers. Simon Vaughan wrote the screenplay.[4][5]

In April 2016, Domhnall Gleeson entered discussions to star as A. A. Milne.[6] He and Margot Robbie were confirmed to star in June 2016, with her as Milne's wife Daphne.[7] Kelly Macdonald joined the film as Olive, Christopher Robin's nanny, later in the month.[8]

Filming began in September 2016.[9]

Release[edit]

The film was released in the UK on 29 September 2017,[10] and in the US on 13 October 2017.[11]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 63% based on 163 reviews, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Goodbye Christopher Robin struggles to balance wartime tension and childlike wonder, but offers valuable insight into the darkness shadowing the creation of a classic children's tale."[12] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 54 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[13]

The Economist gave the film a mixed review, writing that "As in so many middlebrow period dramas, the vintage cars are too shiny, the clothes too smart, the upper-class accents too strained and the dialogue too contrived. However dark the plot becomes, the sun keeps shining brightly through the trees. You are never allowed to forget that you are watching a traditional piece of tourist-friendly British heritage cinema." The review praised it, however, stating that, "There aren’t many films that demonstrate how a phenomenal professional success can also be the most catastrophic personal failure; there certainly aren’t many that revolve around a collection of cuddly toys."[14]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
British Independent Film Awards 10 December 2017 Best Supporting Actress Kelly Macdonald Nominated [15]
Heartland Film Festival 20 November 2017 Truly Moving Picture Award Goodbye Christopher Robin Won [16]
Mill Valley Film Festival 16 October 2017 Audience Award — World Cinema Won [17]

See also[edit]

  • A Bear Named Winnie – a 2004 made-for-television drama film about the real-life bear Winnipeg, with Vaughan also acting as a writer and producer.
  • Christopher Robin – a 2018 fictional film made by the Walt Disney Company about the character named after Christopher Robin Milne.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Carter Burwell to Score Simon Curtis' 'Goodbye Christopher Robin'". Film Music Reporter. 1 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Goodbye Christopher Robin". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  3. ^ "Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)". The Numbers. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  4. ^ "U.K. sets Pooh scribe saga". Variety. Dave McNary. 7 May 2010.
  5. ^ "Winnie the Pooh creator biopic hits Cannes". Screen Daily. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  6. ^ Jaafar, Ali (13 April 2016). "'Star Wars' Domhnall Gleeson in Talks To Play Winnie The Pooh Creator AA Milne In 'Goodbye Christopher Robin'". Deadline. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  7. ^ Jaafar, Ali (14 June 2016). "Fox Searchlight Confirms Domhnall Gleeson And Margot Robbie To Star in Winnie The Pooh Creator Pic 'Goodbye Christopher Robin'". Deadline. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Kelly Macdonald Joins 'Goodbye Christopher Robin' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Check out Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie in a new A. A. Milne & Christopher Robin film | Live for Films". Live for Films. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  10. ^ Alexander, Ella (28 September 2017). "Margot Robbie explains when is too young to be a child star". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Death Wish, The Mountain Between Us and More Get Release Changes, Dates". ComingSoon.net. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Goodbye Christopher Robin Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  14. ^ N.B. (September 29, 2017). "Winnie-the-Pooh brought joy to readers, but misery to the Milnes". The Economist. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  15. ^ "'Lady Macbeth' Leads British Independent Film Awards Nominations – Full List". Deadline Hollywood.
  16. ^ "Truly Moving Picture Award". Heartlandfilm.org.
  17. ^ "Mudbound Wins 2017 Mill Valley Film Festival Audience Award". AwardsWatch.com.

External links[edit]