Directed by Simon Curtis, renowned for My Week With Marilyn, Goodbye Christopher Robin, a tale of hope and woe, youthful innocence and adult suffering, is similar to other author biopics such as Finding Neverland, Sylvia and Miss Potter, in that it combines fantasy with non-fiction but also dispels of a little bit of the magic that surrounds the author’s books.
Written by Simon Vaughan and Frank Cottrell-Boyce, there is a great degree of youthful magic that infiltrates the dialogue but the synopsis and story itself sadly removes some of the reasons why we love the Winnie-the-Pooh books. The script-writing and casting is spot on with Cottrell-Boyce’s inclusion along with the acting of Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie and Kelly Macdonald. However, the decision to produce and direct this film in itself is perhaps the one I question.
Plato wrote that “the untrained mind keeps up a running commentary, labelling everything, judging everything. Best to ignore that commentary. Don’t argue or resist, just ignore. Deprived of attention and interest, this voice gets quieter and quieter and eventually just shuts up.” Basically, that, “ideas are the source of all things.” With elements of Spielberg’s nostalgic and spellbinding cinematography and naivety in narrative, Curtis’ heart-wrenching tale allows us to consider these notions, as A.A. Milne and Christopher Robin reinvent their lives with their thoughts and stories, which made up the crux of the well-loved tales set in Hundred Acre Wood, or as we find out within the film, Ashdown Forest in East Sussex.
However, this is the best take from this film, as the rest allows the viewer to understand how A. A. Milne’s son was so badly affected by the publication of these books. Obviously informative, the way in which the film informatively reveals Milne’s sheer disregard for his son, does question our love for these children’s classics. However, the love is still there for the likes of Pooh and Eeyore and Owl at the end of this film, as there is a moment between father and son, which albeit not uite redemption, does turn the energy of the movie. As aforementioned, the acting is striking and the film itself stands. As a reader, I take this movie as a spoiler and encourage most readers to perhaps avoid this one.
Goodbye Christopher Robin runs until Thursday 19th October at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse.