Goodbye Christopher Robin Parent Guide
Beautifully shot, with powerful performances, this based on real-life tale is intended for parents rather than their children.
Parent Movie Review
Like many children in the twentieth century, I grew up listening to the tales of Winnie the Pooh. The lovable Teddy Bear and his human companion Christopher Robin were a delight. For me, their adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood, beautifully illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard, and later adapted into animation by Walt Disney, the were fictitious. I was well into adulthood before I learned that the stories and poems were based on author A.A. Milne’s own son. That made the writing even more charming. But it appears that was not the case for the real family…
When Alan Alexander Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) returns to London after fighting in the “war to end all wars”, he is suffering from shellshock. (During his anxiety attacks we see flashbacks of the trenches full of dead and dying soldiers, and hear gunshots and explosions). His high-society wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) has little sympathy for his ailment, and doesn’t understand why he is having trouble resuming his former occupation as a successful playwright. Even the birth of their son (which Daphne claims almost kills her) doesn’t bring the man peace. Eventually, she reluctantly agrees to move to a quiet place in the countryside so Alan can resume his writing.
When that still doesn’t work, she heads back to the city alone with no promises of returning. As bad luck would have it, her departure coincides with the loss of the cook and a family emergency for the nanny (Kelly Macdonald). That leaves the depressed dad completely alone with his son (Will Tilston). After a few un-pleasantries, Alan rises to the responsibilities of caring for the child he barely knows.
The time the two spend together proves magical. Christopher Robin introduces his father to his playthings: a teddy bear named Winnie (after the famous bear from Winnipeg, Canada who lives in the London zoo), a stripped tiger, a dilapidated donkey and a tiny piglet. The pair and entourage take walks in the wood, play imagination games, and bond over their shared sense of loss. Alan is missing his wife, Christopher is longing for his nanny.
Suddenly, Alan has the inspiration to jot down a few lines. With thoughts filled of other such verse, Alan invites his friend Ernest Sheppard to come for a visit and makes some sketches of the young lad playing with his toys. On a whim, Alan sends a copy of one of the illustrated poems to Daphne – and she comes home. Soon there is enough for a whole book, a willing publisher, and before any of them realize it, a best seller.
However, this happy ending for writers’ block brings with it an entirely new set of problems. The public wants to meet the real Christopher Robin, and reporters start plaguing the young boy. The father has lots of work to do if he wants to keep the sensation going, even though he is troubled when the press wants to talk about his son instead of him. And Mom needs to accompany Dad when he attends to important people in important places.
Despite the reference to of one of the world’s most popular children’s characters in its title, this film is aimed at adults, not kids. Although the script takes some artistic license, it does accurately depict many issues that fame and fortune brought upon the Milnes’. It presents a sobering picture for parents who might also become blinded by career ambitions and financial stability—especially when those seemingly worthy goals are gained at the expense of building loving family relationships. Beautifully shot, with powerful performances, this real-life cautionary tale is a reminder that it is not childish to cherish the important aspects of childhood.Directed by Simon Curtis. Starring Margot Robbie, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly MacDonald, Will Tilston, Alex Lather. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release November 10, 2017. Updated November 10, 2017
Goodbye Christopher Robin
Rating & Content Info
Why is Goodbye Christopher Robin rated PG? Goodbye Christopher Robin is rated PG by the MPAA for thematic elements, some bullying, war images and brief language.
Violence: Scenes of war violence are shown in flashback and include explosions, gun violence, and portrayals of wounded and dying men. Corpses are depicted. Characters suffer from shellshock and other post-traumatic-stress related mental health issues. A married couple argue and make threats of separation. A child’s emotional needs are neglected by his parents. A boy is bullied and pushed down stairs by his school peers. A child throws a tantrum. Soldiers enlist for war and family/friends worry about their safety. Some mildly-morbid comments are made. An employer is unkind and verbal abusive to an employee.
Sexual Content: A married couple are seen in bed (they are clothed) and they kiss. A woman screams during childbirth, and brief comments are made about delivery. A woman makes flippant remarks about leaving her husband if he doesn’t get back to working for a living. Embracing and kissing are shown. A child’s head and shoulders are seen while he bathes in a bathtub.
Profanity: Mild profanities and terms of deity are used infrequently.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters drink alcohol at parties and at home. A character talks about wanting to visit a “speakeasy”— a bar that illegally served alcohol during the Prohibition era in America.
Page last updated November 10, 2017
More parents' guide for Goodbye Christopher Robin after the break...
Goodbye Christopher Robin Parents' Guide
According to the movie, what is the Milnes’ policy about “blubbing”? Do you think one should always keep a ‘stiff upper lip”, or are there times when it is beneficial to cry? How did keeping their emotions in check play out for the family depicted in this film?
When dealing with her husband’s inability to forget the scars he acquired during the war, Daphne tells Alan, “If you don’t think about a thing, it ceases to exist.” She adds, “Find something to be happy about, and stick to that.” What do you think of her advice? Is there some truth to getting over painful memories by focusing on better experiences? Is it possible for problems to go away simply by refusing to acknowledge them? What council would you share with someone suffering from sorrow or depression?
In the script, Alan Milne suggests the books will be a fad that is eventually replaced by something new coming along. Has that proved true? How did the poems and tales touch a society grieving from the effects of war? What would you say accounts for the continuing popularity of the Winnie the Pooh stories?
News About "Goodbye Christopher Robin"
Goodbye Christopher Robin opens in limited theaters on October 13, 2017. It will expand to more theaters at a later date.
Christopher Robin Milne became famous as the little boy who was the friend of a teddy bear named Winnie the Pooh. The stories of his childhood were written by his father AA Milne, and went on to bring the family fame and fortune. But what should have been a happy story wasn't nearly as cheery behind closed doors as the weight of the books' enormous success put a strain on their relationships.
From the Studio:
A rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children's author A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his son Christopher Robin, whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne (Margot Robbie), and his nanny Olive, Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family? Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures