Goodbye Christopher Robin

Opening at the LIDO on November 23

Quite simply, this is one of the best British films you’ll see all year – a deeply moving and yet honestly revealing evocation of parenthood and creativity, of childhood and that enduring love for a favourite cuddly toy.
But that doesn’t make it sentimental for a second. The brilliance of the screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Simon Vaughan is that it has real teeth.
Yes, this is the story of how one of the best-loved characters in children’s literature came to be created but interwoven throughout are warnings that this is not necessarily a happy story for all involved.
Mind you, it was very nearly a story that Milne – played here wonderfully by Domhnall Gleeson – didn’t get to live at all as an early flashback to 1916 and the trenches of the Somme makes clear. Wounded and also suffering from a mild but recurring form of shellshock, Milne, an established playwright and Punch writer, struggles to make sense of the post-war peacetime world.
His publisher wants him to write something ‘wickedly funny’; he wants to write about the horrors of war. With his beautiful but high-maintenance wife, Daphne (Australian actress Margot Robbie), he moves to the country and finds he can do neither.
At least their son, Christopher Robin, is born, in 1920; an event that this already successful society couple celebrate as was the custom of those times by promptly employing a nanny (Kelly Macdonald).
But it’s when, a few years later, Daphne finally despairs of her husband’s lack of progress and bolts back to the London parties she loves and Nanny has to beg a few days off to look after her ailing mother, that the real magic happens. Suddenly, father and small son are thrown together for days on end.
And what better way to keep a small boy amused than to take him off for walks in the woods and tell him tales of the wild animals that live there.
An absolute must for grown-up Winnie-the-Pooh fans and anyone with a fondness for quality drama and small bears.
Daily Mail (5 Stars)

Stars: Margot Robbie, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Macdonald