Goodbye Christopher Robin
|Goodbye Christopher Robin|
British release poster
|Directed by||Simon Curtis|
|Music by||Carter Burwell|
|Edited by||Victoria Boydell|
|Distributed by||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
|Box office||$7.2 million|
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. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $7.2 million at the box office.
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 plush toy 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.
- Domhnall Gleeson as A. A. Milne
- Margot Robbie as Daphne de Sélincourt, A. A. Milne's wife
- Kelly Macdonald as Olive/Nou, Christopher Robin's nanny
- Will Tilston as Young Christopher Robin Milne
- Alex Lawther as Older Christopher Robin Milne
- Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Mary Brown
- Vicki Pepperdine as Betty
- Stephen Campbell Moore as Ernest H. Shepard
- Richard McCabe as Rupert
- Geraldine Somerville as Lady O
In April 2016, Domhnall Gleeson entered discussions to star as A. A. Milne. He and Margot Robbie were confirmed to star in June 2016, with her as Milne's wife Daphne. Kelly Macdonald joined the film as Olive, Christopher Robin's nanny, later in the month.
Filming began in September 2016.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 62% based on 170 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. 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." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 54 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
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."
|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|||
|Heartland Film Festival||20 November 2017||Truly Moving Picture Award||Goodbye Christopher Robin||Won|||
|Mill Valley Film Festival||16 October 2017||Audience Award — World Cinema||Won|||
- 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.
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