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‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ Captures A.A. Milne’s Emotional Damage

Film Explores Absentee-Parenting, Manipulation, and Exploitation of Boy’s Childhood


I went into this film thinking it would be your classic, uplifting story of how a father, famed Winnie-the-Pooh author A. A. Milne, conquers his PTSD demons — mental scars from his service in both World Wars — by entering into a world of child’s play and the power of the written word alongside his sweet son, Christopher Robin Milne. Beware, Goodbye Christopher Robin is not that. Sure, there are tender moments of father-son bonding, but this film is really about a dysfunctional family, with (mostly) absentee-parenting, emotional manipulation, and the exploitation of Christopher’s childhood. Goodbye Christopher Robin is not a show-stopping Oscar-winner, but its capture of interfamilial damage caused by that stereotypical stiff-upper-lip mentality of Brits in the early 1900s is both painful to watch and impressively subtle. A word to the wise: Bring tissues.

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