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Goodbye Christopher Robin

Movie biographies have recently become hugely popular. Perhaps they appeal to viewers not wanting to waste time searching online to discover true tales of decades-old subjects. The genre provides history in bite sized chunks, easily digested with only the surface elements providing satisfaction. This works occasionally although it is often better to search elsewhere for deeper analysis. ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ is in this style providing a snapshot of a children’s author whose creations still endure.

A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) is an author living in the countryside with his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) and young son Christopher Robin (Will Tilston). Searching for inspiration for his latest work, he is inspired by Christopher’s toys. Using them to create characters such as Winnie the Pooh, his instant success changes his family. With a public enchanted by the books as they try to escape the ravages between the First and Second World Wars, Milne’s popularity has consequences even his imagination couldn’t have created.

Directed by Simon Curtis, ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ is an uneven film. Whilst the facts about how Milne creating his popular characters are fascinating, it’s how the movie conveys these that make it less amazing. The story feels wrapped in a treacly cute package without much bite. How the fictional characters affect Christopher’s life and relationships with his parents is very interesting. But when the script hits the expected emotional beats, it feels artificial without much impact. None of that is a reflection on the actors who are excellent but when the screenplay isn’t quite up to scratch there’s not much they can do.

‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ has a great attention to detail and looks gorgeous. Even though the period setting is suitably lush, there’s something fake about how people react to Milne’s work, which is a problem many biopics have. No one can possibly know how people reacted in certain situations with the fictional bits of the narrative often getting in the way of the truth. That doesn’t mean ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ isn’t engaging as issues of rejection, parenthood and war provide interest.

‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ is a reasonably interesting exploration of the ramifications of one’s creativity. Although it could have been better in terms of conveying genuine emotion without feeling artificial, as biopics go it’s decent enough. This won’t stop more coming to screens with the well of temptation of turning famous people’s lives into cinematic fodder never in danger of running dry.

Rating out of 10: 6

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