30 September 2017 | trevorwomble
More than just about Winnie the Pooh
I watched this wondering if it was going to be a dull, forgettable period piece or a tedious biopic and was very surprised just how good it actually was.
This is a really solid film with good performances and nicely directed. The plot concerns the true story of the life of the young Christopher Robin and the changing relationship he has with his parents in the 1920s.
It blends the mental trauma his father has been living with since his WW1 experience, and Christopher Robin's own traumatic childhood, both of witnessing his own parent's fractious relationship and then the deep unhappiness of having his life turned upside down when his fathers book, Winnie the Pooh, becomes an enormous and unexpected worldwide hit and inadvertently makes a celebrity of Christopher Robin.
This is a film primarily about family relationships and it is extremely well written too. Will Tilston, who plays Christopher Robin at 8 years old, puts in an exceptionally competent and sweet performance that makes you genuinely feel for the character.He finds the only person who actually understands and shares his anguish is his nanny, Olive (Kelly MacDonald). Olive too notices how unhappy Christopher Robin becomes but her pleas fall on deaf ears.
The only real flaw in any of the characterizations is Margot Robbie's turn as Daphne, Christopher Robin's mother. Whilst Domnhall Gleeson's AA Milne at least has some back story to explain why his mentally tortured writer is struggling to shake off his demons and thus oblivious to his son's reluctant celebrity status, Daphne comes across as somebody who is a bit cold and shallow and has no problems with watching her son get exploited to make the book a success. This may of course be what she was really like but the film doesn't dig very deep into her character. However this is a minor quibble in an otherwise well made film.
There are moments of humour in the script and no bad language so I expect this film will appeal to older audiences as well as families. The film is also just about the right length too if you like a good old fashioned biopic/drama. There is also a moral at the heart of this tale about the need to let children have a normal childhood, which is very much applicable even now.