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‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ really is magical

The A.A. Milne and "Billy Moon" biopic is genuinely feel-good.
Domhnall Gleeson as A.A. Miline in Goodbye Christopher Robin
[Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures]

‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’

Director: Simon Curtis

Stars: Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Will Tilston, Kelly Macdonald, Alex Lawther, Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Rating: PG-13

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4.5 (Out Of 5) Globes

 

Plot: A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) is one of the most popular playwrights in post-World War I London, but he still feels creatively unfulfilled, especially in the wake of his efforts as a soldier. In order to write his great novel, Milne decides to move his young family, which includes his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) and their young son Christopher Robin (Will Tilston), to the English countryside. But with his PTSD only getting worse and Daphne struggling to adapt to their new surroundings, Milne is unable to write. Things quickly change when he is forced to look after Christopher Robin by himself, following the death of their nanny (Kelly Macdonald)’s mother. During this time the duo create the characters Winnie-The-Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, which Milne turns into a series of books. However, the success of this series comes at a huge price.  

Review: I wasn’t expecting to like "Goodbye Christopher Robin" anywhere near as much as I actually did. In fact, even about halfway into the drama I only found myself just pleasantly entertained rather than fully enraptured. But while "Goodbye Christopher Robin" opens up enjoyably enough, establishing its characters, setting and relationships with an emphatic charm, it’s not until its latter half that screenwriters Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Simon Vaughan really sink their teeth into the subject matter, probing the instant success of the books in a surprisingly powerful and emotional manner. "Goodbye Christopher Robin" admittedly forgoes any subtly, going in hard on its dramatic cues, but Curtis is so lean and focused on the heart, intent and themes of the film that it builds into a captivating and truly touching experience. Domhnall Gleeson shoulders a lot of the film’s weight, deftly conveying the emotional heft without ever being maudlin, while the brattish Margot Robbie and caring Kelly MacDonald impress, too, but it is the effervescent warmth and innocence of Will Tilston that really makes the film so impactful. "Goodbye Christopher Robin" might overstretch its ending, but it is still such a stirring crowd-pleaser, and at the same time thought-provoking, that it makes for one of the most satisfying films of the year.