The unexpectedly emotional true story behind Winnie-the-Pooh

Did you delight in the Winnie-the-Pooh books when you were younger? Or perhaps you shared the stories with your own children or grandchildren?

The tales of Christopher Robin and his beloved toys were originally published in 1926 by A.A Milne, so have been delighting families for close to a century.

But few of us likely know how the stories of the whimsical bear Winnie-the-Pooh came to be.

 

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Now, for the first time, the untold story of Winnie-the-Pooh’s creation is coming to life on the big screen in Goodbye Christopher Robin, an enchanting film for adults.

The heart-warming film gives viewers a glimpse into the life of AA Milne (played by Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson), his wife, Daphne (Australia’s own Margot Robbie), their nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald), and, of course, their son, Christopher Robin (Wil Tilston).

Milne dreamed up Pooh after returning home from World War I. Seeking an escape from memories of the traumas he suffered, the shell-shocked writer decided to spend some time with his son in the English countryside.

As the pair bonded, Milne became fascinated by his son’s vivid imagination as he played with his stuffed toys, and was so inspired that he created Pooh and his friends based on the toys for Christopher’s enjoyment.

On discovering the stories, Daphne was adamant that they be published.

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Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh and their friends in the Hundred Acre Wood quickly became a world-wide phenomenon, turning the little boy and his parents into some of the biggest celebrities of the time – and having an impact on their lives that they couldn’t have anticipated.

Goodbye Christopher Robin focuses on the period in which Pooh’s story came to fruition and the whirlwind years that followed, in an exploration of the highs and lows that fame can bring and the long-term impact it can have.

Viewers will be no doubt be fascinated to watch as the story unfolds at a difficult time for Britain, which was between wars and desperately in need of some innocence and charm to distract from the horrors endured in the trenches. 

The film has a warm, charming, nostalgic feel, evoking the clothing, hairstyles, décor, and all the glamour of the roaring 1920s. The bustling London streets and the peaceful English countryside look like idealised versions of themselves, so beautifully are they shot.

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While some biopics don’t do their stories justice, this is not the case in Goodbye Christopher Robin. The star-studded cast cleverly bring their characters to life, while the script stays largely true to A.A. Milne’s and Christopher Robin’s real-life stories.

Robbie looks just the part of the beautiful socialite Daphne, while Star Wars actor Domhnall Gleeson plays Milne to perfection as a studious man still feeling the effects of war. Newcomer Tilston is suitably adorable young Christopher Robin.

Critics have said that Goodbye Christopher Robin shouldn’t be mistaken for a children’s film, or even a film about children, but an adult study of a fascinating family living in a turbulent time for the western world.

Have your hankies, to mop up happy tears and sad, at the ready.

Goodbye Christopher Robin hits Australian cinemas on November 23.

Would you like to see this film? Have you heard the story of AA Milne and Christopher Robin before?

Goodbye Christopher Robin is in cinemas Thursday, November 23

GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN gives a rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children's author A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his son Christopher Robin (Will Tilston), whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh.