Goodbye Christopher Robin displays the work, the world and the worries of Alan Alexander Milne who is familiar to most people. A. A. Milne is the writer from England who authored the series of children’s books starting with Winnie the Pooh.
In the years prior to World War I, Milne had a long, very successful career as a playwright before that series of books. He was in military service during the war and had extensive experience in intense bloody battles.
Upon returning to civilian life, and to his wife, Daphne, he suffered from the trauma then known as ‘shell shock.’ Any sudden loud noise or bright flash of light caused panic and disorientation for him.
Milne’s relationship with his wife was somewhat uncertain. There was love there but Daphne was less than fully sympathetic when he was in a state of distress.
In 1920, they had a child, a boy, whom they named Christopher Robin. Daphne was not the perfect mother to the child; Christopher interfered with her highly active life style. Alan was attentive, but without warmth or affection for the boy.
Alan moved the family to a country home that was beautiful, quiet and peaceful, not entirely to Daphne’s pleasure. When Daphne takes a leave to go to London, Alan is thrust into the position of real parenthood. There is a nanny living with them, Olive. She is very caring and she and Christopher, at age 8, become very close.
Alan tries to be a good father and they become closer as they take regular walks in the woods and play fantasy games that are centered around Christopher’s stuffed animals — a teddy bear, a tiger, a kangaroo, etc. It leads to the inspiration for Alan to write the books that have become the icons of children’s literature.
With the success of the Winnie the Pooh series, the Milne family becomes more famous and they are constantly hounded by journalists, photographers and fans of the books. Neither Alan nor Christopher is happy with this constant attention, which becomes a terrible invasion of their privacy and interferes with their creative interplay.
Goodbye Christopher Robin brings this story to us with fine acting from all the principals, beautiful scenery and a fact-based script that has us deeply involved and caring for these people.
Domhnall Gleeson as Alan, Margot Robbie as Daphne, Will Tilston as 8-year old Christopher and especially Kelly Macdonald as the nanny, Olive, carry the film to a high level of reality.
There are a couple of very short flashback battle scenes, but otherwise we see people interacting with each other, without violence or action. It is a special film to experience if you want to escape crash-bang-shootemup movies.
Goodbye Christopher Robin is at Harkins Sedona 6 Theater.