Simon Curtis has created a historical piece that correlates beautifully with the topical nature of a celebrity lifestyle
A biopic is naturally focused on its central performance as it paves way for the film to discover the relationships dear to its lead. Goodbye Christopher Robin is different in the sense that it centralises on a relationship. The time A.A. Milne spent with his son Christopher Robin, or Billy Moon, is a fascinating father-son dynamic, and it rightly takes all of the limelight in a beautifully imagined picture.
Alan Alexander Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) returns from the First World War damaged by the intense period of fighting. As an attempt to reinstate her husband’s happiness, Daphne (Margot Robbie) agrees to have a child, and Christopher Robin Mine (Will Tilston) is born to parents who don’t fully understand the responsibilities of parenting. Helped by a young nanny (Kelly Macdonald), Christopher grows into a young boy, and a becomes a fascination to his father. With a brand new subject to write about, Milne takes a vivid interest in his child’s playing habits.
Gleeson is a marvel. He manages to bring together the struggle of being a father, a writer, and publicist in the most beautifully hardened way, and this is only enhanced by the charming smile of Will Tilston. Putting in a wildly naive performance, the young actor already knows how to pull at the heartstrings of an audience. The pair are the film’s highlight, as it should be, with their relationship being the key to the secret gates of 100 Acre Wood.
Backed by a strong script, the overwhelmed nature of the characters comes across in a sudden and exasperated manner, yet manages to keep a steady tone and convey its powerful message. Simon Curtis has created a historical piece that correlates beautifully with the topical nature of a celebrity lifestyle, and how devastating its effects can be. At times, the message is more powerful than the drama, but for a moderately mild piece this doesn’t come across as a major issue.
Goodbye Christopher Robin is a film that takes itself seriously and knows its audience. Headed by a supreme performance and backed by a wonderful cast with a tight script, its message is clear and its passion is paramount. It’s a period drama with a real passion for modern day complications.