"It's hard to explain how a few precious things seem to follow throughout all our lives..." - Kenny Loggins, Return to Pooh Corner. Sure enough it's amazing how well a delightful story about a little boy and his stuffed animals have endured for nearly 100-years. Even more, is how those delightful stories wrecked the relationship between the real boy and his real parents.


Director Simon Curtis is developing quite a reputation with his docudrama's about notable, but not necessarily famous Brits. He guided "My Week with Marilyn" to two Oscar nominations and "Woman in Gold" to several accolades. "Marilyn" documents the interaction between Lawrence Olivier's assistant and Marilyn Monroe during her visit to England; "Woman in Gold" follows Maria Altman's struggles to regain possession of her families stolen art.


This time Curtis delves into the none fairy tale life of the real Christopher Robin and his famous dad A.A. Milne. A relationship that, through the Winnie the Pooh books seems so fanatstical, but in reality caused a great deal of emotion stress on the boy.

Starring, in various ages as Christopher Robin is Dexter Hyman (aged 3), Will Tolston (age 8) and Alex Lawther (age 18). Domhnall Gleeseon turns in a more than respectable performance as the author Milne while Margot Robbie delivers a emotional but often confusing deliverance as Milne's wife Daphne.


The film opens with Milne struggling in the battlefields of World War I as bodies lie rotting in the sun around him. According to the film, this led him to suffer from a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) upon his return to his affluent life as a playwrite. His wife Daphne produced a son, that according to the film, nearly killed her - a leverage she would use through out the story.


The film has Milne categorically opposed to war, but it fails to mention that he actually did write two books concerning war (the first was Peace with Honour [1934] followed by War with Honour [1940]). But his primary objective was to write something that would take Englands mind off war, which how he started writing about Christopher Robin and his toys.

It should be mentioned that Will Tilston's take on Christopher Robin takes up most of the childhood scenes and capture the confusion the boy had as to whether he was indeed adored by is father or simply exploited.


There are moments in the film that Milne comes off both affectionate and then jealous of his sons fame ad the "Winnie the Pooh" series gained populatirty. It's never quite clear if it is because of the fame or the apprent riches that came with the fame.


The other main character is that of Kelly MacDonald's Olive the Nanny role. tasked with caring for Christopher most of the time, her role is the clearest - a deep devotion to the boy and a personal disdain for the parents whome she deems pretty much absentee parents. Part of this may be true since in reality Daphne disowned her son, apparently because she didn't like the wife he chose!


Curtis leans toward attempting to draw sympathy, but we are never quite clear with whom we should sympathize - Milne because of his PTSD, Dahne because of the grueling birth, Christopher because he is clearly left out to dry sometimes or Olive as the only loving member of the household. There definitely should have been a better defined "ogre". It should be said the scenes with just Christpher Robin and Milne develop the best on-screen connection between the two characters.


Uneven and foggy, the narrative nevertheless does manage to rekindle that joyful ting inspired by the books - if only for a few moments.


"Goodbye Christopher Robin," even with it's faults, is a film that all fans of the Winnie the Pooh book series will want to see, if only to recapture the intent of the innocent goodness in the Hundred Acre Wood!   -- GEOFF BURTON