Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review
Biographical films can be tricky to make sometimes. Depending on the studio, some may try to overdramatize things or add-in events that never happened or people that never existed. Goodbye Christopher Robin was the gem that shined in the pile, proving that a film can keep to history and still be fantastic.
The film follows A.A. Milne, a troubled writer plagued by the memories of his experiences of WWI. He's upset with his life, tired of writing plays for snobby people, angered that he can't shake the war, and sick of feeling suffocated by the city. Having a child with his wife Daphne still didn't cheer him up. The family moved to the countryside so Milne could have space and quiet to think. With a newborn child, quiet didn't seem to be an option. Olive was hired to be a nanny to young Christopher. Soon, the boy grew and so did his imagination. The bond between father and son blossomed, and that's where the real story begins.
The beginning of the film could be a bit slow. Pretty much everything from the start to the time Christopher is 8 is the prologue. As much as I love Margot Robbie and Domhnall Gleeson, young Will Tilson is the true star of the film. Had the film not relied on Christopher and instead relied on A.A. and Daphne, it would have been a drawn out mess. Perhaps that was the point all along. Sometimes people can live their lives, feeling dull and meaningless until their child comes along and touches their hearts and minds. Thankfully, we were told the story that we were promised, and by the end, I can honestly say I was not disappointed. Truly, I didn't really know what to expect but I was delighted with what I saw.
There were only a couple of issues the film had. First, the editing was a bit choppy in places. For instance, in the beginning we see AA getting a draft letter and Daphne's expression becoming riddled with fear and sadness. We jump to the front lines in France only to jump back in a few minutes' time with no real context of what he saw or went through. With the film later emphasizing his PTSD, we're meant to accept that he went through a major trauma. While, yes, PTSD is very real, we never truly grasp the emotion of his flashbacks because we weren't shown what he saw. The second issue was that the first 30 minutes could drag a bit. That's not a huge deal because the rest of the film certainly makes up for it.
In conclusion, the positives most certainly outweigh the negatives and I can't recommend this film enough. There are some deeply emotional moments later in the film and the message is one of great importance. Goodbye Christopher Robin is one that everyone should see, especially the parents out there. I give the film a 3 out of 4.
© 2018 Alec Zander