Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Goodbye Christopher Robin: The Perils of Fame

Meeting Pooh. Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

The same day I saw a screening of the new movie, Goodbye Christopher Robin, the New York Times ran an article about parents who post their kids every move on Instagram.

The movie poster
Living life under a lens has its drawbacks, as the surprisingly somber and affecting movie shows. A. A. Milne, battling PTSD after fighting in WW I, uses his son as inspiration for his famous Winnie-the-Pooh books.

Milne, played by Domhnall Gleeson, is at times the kind of charming wit seen in The Thin Man movies, along with his socialite wife, played by Margot Robbie. But he is unhappy being a rich London poet and playwright, and moves the family, along with a nanny, to Sussex.

The Fox screening room
The parents don’t come off well, relegating care of their adorable son, Christopher Robin, to the nanny. Christopher Robin, nicknamed Billy Moon, is played by the dimpled Will TIlston as a young boy. He will break your heart.

In this story, father and son are left alone and the clueless dad, who cam’t even make a proper breakfast, begins to warm up and entertain his son. He creates stories around his son’s stuffed animals, and Winne-the-Pooh is born.

Children's literature, adult movie

This is certainly not a children’s movie, with its adult themes, flashbacks to battle and somber tone. But for parents who grew up with the books, or read them to their children, the movie is diverting and intriguing.

I sought out Milne’s poetry and decided to reread the Winne-the-Pooh books to look for subtext. One of my English major friends wrote her thesis on Alice in Wonderland, so I know that there is often more than meets the eye in children’s literature.

And movies.

Live in New York?

And if you live in NY, or are visiting, you can see the original Winne-the-Pooh bear at the New York Pubic Library. It’s on display at the Children’s Center on at 42nd Street.

Note: I ws a guest of Fox at this screening.

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