If you’re an Oscar blogger, you see a lot of biopics. And while some biopics are better than others, for the most part, they seem to be very similar. Judging from the trailers. Goodbye Christopher Robin looked like it was just going to be a repeat of Finding Neverland, only with A. A. Milne in the place of J. M. Barrie. However, I ended up pleasantly surprised with how this movie stood out from the crowd.
The film is separated into two ‘acts’, as it were. The first act focuses on A. A. Milne’s writer’s block, and how the time he spent with his son eventually inspired him to create Winnie The Pooh books, right down to using his sons’ actual name, Christopher Robin. But while the first act seems fairly traditional by biopic standards, the second act focuses on how the extreme popularity of the books ended up completely ruining his son’s life.
Admittedly, the ending is slightly tweaked, giving the story a happier ending than it had in real life. However, that’s a fairly common tactic in most biopics. And I find it interesting that the film doesn’t come across as ‘inspirational’, which is what you would expect from this kind of movie. The movie goes out of its way to make each of the characters three-dimensional, just as the real people were.
The film also succeeds with great performances by the entire cast. Domhnall Gleeson has played so many different types of roles over the last few years, showing that he has an amazing range. This might be the most ‘Oscar-friendly’ role he’s played to date, so I hope he gets some awards love somewhere down the line.
Margot Robbie and Kelly MacDonald also do great work. But if anyone from this movie is going to get awards, it should be child actor Will Tilston, who has to carry much of the film on his shoulders and does a remarkable job. Expect several ‘Best Young Actor’ nominations for him.
Goodbye Christopher Robin is a very good biopic. It does a good job balancing out the tone so it never feels too cheesy but never feels too depressing either. It might not be everybody;s cup of tea, but I enjoyed it very much. And it feels a little weird that the film doesn’t seem to be in the Oscar conversation very much. I think it definitely deserves to be.
***1/2 out of ****