I grew up with Winnie the Pooh as a kid, and so I was really eager to see “Goodbye Christopher Robin,” which focuses on its origin story.
On the VHS copy of “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh,” I’ve learned that Winnie the Pooh was named after a Canadian black bear in the London Zoo named Winifred and a swan named Pooh. It was Christopher Robin, who inspired his father A.A. Milne to create the book series, which became the Disney phenomenon we all know and love.
Domhnall Gleason is very good as Alan Alexander Milne, who starts to suffer from PTSD after fighting in WWI, “The War to End All Wars.” He and his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) have a baby boy, which they thought was going to be a girl. That disappoints Daphne, because that means her son will fight in the next war.
Christopher Robin (a charming newcomer named Will Tilston) receives stuffed animals from his mother. That would be impolite of me to call them “stuffed animals,” so I’ll refer to them as Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eyeore, Kanga, and Roo.
While A.A. is struggling to write a book about the horrors of war, he ends becoming inspired by his son’s imaginations, and ergo, decides to write the books we know and love. This makes both him and Christopher Robin celebrities.
Kelly MacDonald gives a delightful performance as Christopher’s nanny Olive, who cares for his happiness and well-being. I say that, because the fame ends up consuming his childhood. You’ll love the way she admits her feelings to the parents.
There are times when “Goodbye Christopher Robin” gets a little over-emotional, and there are some lines I didn’t like. I don’t know much about the story behind the stories, so I can’t say what’s fact or fiction.
On the other hand, director Simon Curtis does a solid job telling this story. It reminds us of why we love Winnie the Pooh, and the happiness he has given us. And Gleeson, MacDonald, and Tilston are perfect in their roles.