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Goodbye Christopher Robin
Goodbye Christopher Robin.png
British release poster
Directed by Simon Curtis
Produced by
  • Steve Christian
  • Damian Jones
Written by
Starring
Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography Ben Smithard
Editing by Victoria Boydell
Studio
  • DJ Films
  • Gasworks Media
  • TSG Entertainment
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release date(s) 20 September 2017 (2017-09-20) (Odeon Leicester Square)
29 September 2017 (2017-09-29) (UK)
Running time 107 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget under $3 million
Money made $7.2 million

Goodbye Christopher Robin is a 2017 British biographical drama film about the lives of Winnie-the-Pooh creator A. A. Milne and his family, especially his son Christopher Robin. It was directed by Simon Curtis and written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Simon Vaughan, and stars Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, and Kelly Macdonald. The film premiered in the United Kingdom on 29 September 2017. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $7.2 million at the box office.

Plot

The film begins during WWII in 1941, with Alan Alexander Milne – nicknamed "Blue" by his friends and family – and his wife Daphne receiving a distressing telegram at their home. It then changes time frame to 1916 during WWI with Blue fighting in the Battle of the Somme. He resumes his life with Daphne in England while suffering shell shock of occasional flashbacks to his battle experiences, and having a child with Daphne. Daphne appears traumatised by the birth as the midwife says 'she didn't understand the mechanics' of giving birth. She was also hoping for a girl and is disappointed to instead have a son. They name the baby Christopher Robin Milne but generally call him "Billy Moon". They hire a nanny, Olive, whom Billy calls "Nou". At her job interview, Daphne says how wonderful it is that whilst the war killed so many men, it means there are a great number of women who will never marry and can therefore be of service to others!

Blue is having difficulty resuming his writing – he wants to draft a compelling treatise against war – and relocates the family to a house in the country with wooded acreage. Daphne resents the move and returns to London for an extended period. During that time, Olive goes to care for her dying mother and the cook takes some time off, leaving Blue and Billy to fend for themselves. Reluctantly at first, Blue takes Billy along on walks in the woods and begins making up stories about the boy's adventures with the plush toy animals the parents have bought for him.

Blue invites his illustrator friend Ernest to join them at the house, and together they begin to develop the Winnie-the-Pooh books. Daphne returns to the house after Blue sends her a poem, "Vespers", that she has published in Vanity Fair. Olive returns following her mother's death. After the Winnie-the-Pooh books become a success, Daphne manages their newfound celebrity and readily accepts extra opportunities to generate publicity and income, for example, a line of Winnie the Pooh bears, or an opportunity to have tea with 'Christopher Robin.' As Christopher Robin, Billy makes frequent public appearances which he finds confusing and frustrating.

When Billy learns that Olive has a beau, Alfred, he tells his parents, after which Daphne feels betrayed and confronts Olive nastily. Olive becomes angry with Blue and Daphne, resigns, and admonishes them for what they have been putting Billy through. Blue resolves to stop writing about the boy and his imaginary friends. Olive leaves and Billy's mother tells him not to 'blub' (cry).

Blue ends Billy's publicity activities and enrolls him at a boarding school. However, "Christopher Robin" is bullied at the school and emerges bitter toward his father. When WWII breaks out, Billy is initially declared unfit for the draft, but he demands that his well-connected father – despite being horrified by war and the prospect of his son experiencing what he did – convince the army to accept him regardless. Billy leaves for service, turning his back on his father and disowning the books and the money from them.

The opening scene is replayed, this time explaining that Billy has been reported missing and is presumed dead – news his parents pass along to Olive. However, Billy has survived and arrives at the country house without warning, leading to awkward but tearful reunions with his parents and Olive. Blue and Billy reconcile and, in the final scenes, they walk together through the woods, showing Billy as both a young child and young man.

Cast

Production

Development on the project first began in 2010, with Steve Christian and Nuala Quinn-Barton, and subsequently Damian Jones, as producers. Simon Vaughan wrote the screenplay.

In April 2016, Domhnall Gleeson entered discussions to star as A. A. Milne. He and Margot Robbie were confirmed to star in June 2016, with her as Milne's wife Daphne. Kelly Macdonald joined the film as Olive, Christopher Robin's nanny, later in the month.

Filming began in September 2016.

Release

The film was released in the UK on 29 September 2017, and in the US on 13 October 2017.

Accolades

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
British Independent Film Awards 10 December 2017 Best Supporting Actress Kelly Macdonald Nominated
Heartland Film Festival 20 November 2017 Truly Moving Picture Award Goodbye Christopher Robin Won
Mill Valley Film Festival 16 October 2017 Audience Award — World Cinema Won
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