Perhaps I had a wicked childhood, perhaps I had a miserable youth. Why, you ask? Because I never read any of the Winnie the Pooh children’s literary series. I am more familiar with its merchandise, those cutesy bear things. I remember as a child I had a pencil case with the imagery. So I went into Simon Curtis’ ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ quite blindly. I didn’t even know the name of its author: A A Milsne (here played by Domhnall Gleeson)
Milsne had been a famous playwright before he was shipped to fight the first World War, and he came back with PTSD-like symptoms – the buzzing of bees affect him. While at war, his wife bore a son, Billie . At first, he has trouble connecting with the kid, until a circumstance had them spending time with each other alone, and from their exploits he has the idea of the Winnie the Pooh stories, based on his son’s stuffed toys. He writes the books and voila they are hits. The poor kid (Will Tiltson, a child star find) has trouble with this sudden fame – he becomes treated as a product, mostly from the prodding of his mother (Margot Robbie) The mother is written like a cardboard – is she just a gold digger? One never knows.
Then we get the musical strings and the film becomes manipulatively emotional. I won’t lie and say that I didn’t feel the change of gears, but it felt really dirty afterwards, because you know you have been manipulated into feeling a certain something. I appreciated the story, to be honest, and I feel better knowing I now know the story of the man (and child) behind the Winnie the Pooh books, but one has to ask the question – do you have to be played to do so?