The charm of AA Milne's Winnie The Pooh has always been lost on me; as a child I was more a Beatrix Potter kind of gal, and so some of the rather " magic" nature of how Milne bonded with his son over a child's fantasy life of stuffed animals, a red letter moment which led to the publication of a franchise, was beyond me.
However Goodbye Christopher Robin is not just, as what I expect is a rather overblown story of how Pooh was written. It is a rather overblown story of just how poor little Christopher Robin survived a childhood, typical of so many 1920's children who had to cope with emotionally and physically distant parents who had battled through the horrors of WW1
Alan Milne ( Domhnall Gleeson) and his wife Daphne ( Margot Robbie) are not sympathetic characters. He is inconsistent and clearly uses the private moments with his son as fodder for fame,
whilst his wife is a brittle, but vivacious socialite who is quite capable of leaving husband and child
when it suits her but the audience sees them through modern eyes rather than from the perspective of the buttoned up upper classes of pre 1940 England and so it is very hard to identify and even understand them as the norm
Thank goodness for Kelly Mc Donald's emotionally warm Nanny Nou, for it is her arrival that saves the film from it's own dourness and gives it some heart. In the end I found myself more interested in her relationship with Christopher Robin ( Will Tilston) than the all too numerous , soft focus scenes when Milne , Christopher and a gaggle of stuffed toys " played" idyllically in the woods of rural Sussex..indeed.the moment where Nanny breaks down when she thinks the now adult Christopher Robin has died in battle ( a thing his parents were unable to do) literally broke my heart...and.only then did I realise that McDonald's character reminded me of my own grandmother, a person who provided me with all of the warmth and heart that was lacking in my own parenting.