Quick Hit – Melodramatic and overstuffed, this film is only for those who want an up and down experience for ninety or so minutes.
Goodbye Christopher Robin starts off with A. A. Milne (Blue) receiving a letter of obvious intent – it’s the Good-Bye in the Goodbye Christopher Robin. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) throws a ball and looks sad. Margot Robbie (playing Daphne Milne) clips flowers and looks sad. From there, we are flashed back to when Milne came home from WW1, suffering from PTSD. After that, we gleefully skip to a house in Suffex, where Daphne takes off to go to London. Milne and son, “Billy Moon” (Will Tilston) bond and Milne eventually comes up with Winnie the Pooh.
But wait, there’s more. And more. And more.
This film can’t quite figure out what it wants to be, and so therefore it’s a bit muddled. We see that Milne has PTSD, but never is it fully explored besides him flinching. We see that Daphne has a harsh relationship with motherhood and Milne… but we don’t really get to dive into why. The best part of the movie is when it stops and focuses on the relationships, in particular that of Nanny Olive “Nou” (Kelly Macdonald) and Billy. But instead, we continue to get robbed of beautiful moments as the film rushes to the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing.
The film does look pretty at times, often featuring some really nice cinematography by Ben Smithard. Frequently bathing the characters in a soft natural light, and focusing on their faces above all else, Smithard gets some really good reaction shots in some of the most emotional scenes in the movie. Unfortunately, the film bounces on too quickly, rarely allowing you to absorb the impact on the characters.
Young Tilston often saves the film from being a complete waste of time, and Gleeson has his moments as well, particularly when allowed to be a father to the boy instead of just a wooden character. It’s really that relationship between Tilston and Macdonald that makes the movie interesting. Nannies are a parent stand-in, but here it’s done to the extreme. Nou is essentially young Christopher’s mother, or at least the one he deserved. He’s an inquisitive, curious, imaginative boy. Really, I think the best movie that would have been made would have been entirely from his point of view – more like Room than anything else.
All in all, this often saccharine filled film is really not worth much of your time. But if you are an extreme Winnie the Pooh fan, you may enjoy the different tidbits of fan trivia sprinkled throughout the film. I however, didn’t enjoy it much, and only can give it a “D+”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"