A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Clear messages about the way literature can capture a person's youth and remind us of happier times, the fact that what kids want most is for their parents to be present and spend time with them, and that a child's imagination and youth are precious. Some of these lessons take a while to be learned, which underlines much of the movie with melancholy.
Positive Role Models
The movie portrays A.A. and Daphne Milne as flawed examples of well-to-do parents of the post-WWI generation: loving and attentive in spurts but mostly checked out and busy with their own affairs (especially Daphne, who's frequently selfish). They leave most of the parenting to their nanny. But A.A. briefly shows his willingness to be fully present as a father when both the nanny and Daphne leave him alone with Billy. The nanny is incredibly loving and faithful to Billy and goes above and beyond as his caretaker. No notable diversity within the cast.
Violence & Scariness
Flashbacks to Milne's experiences during World War I, including scenes of men dead, injured, and dying in trenches, shots whizzing by, etc. Milne is triggered by unexpected sounds and can shut down or become hostile/aggressive, scatterbrained, angry, etc. A boy is cruelly bullied by boarding school classmates. Some yelling between adults and adults/children. Sad scene of a child missing his beloved caretaker, who left abruptly. (Spoiler alert!) For much of the movie, it's implied that a key character has died.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married couple kisses, embraces, and dances together. An unmarried couple flirts and walks arm in arm -- later it's clear they've married, too.
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Rare exclamations and insults like "damn it," "horrid," "fools," "ridiculous," "blasted."
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Products & Purchases
The Winnie the Pooh books/characters.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke and drink -- champagne, wine, cocktails -- at various parties, dinners, and receptions.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Goodbye Christopher Robin is a biographical drama about how English author/poet/playwright Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne went from being a shell-shocked WWI veteran to becoming the creator of Winnie the Pooh. Starring Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie as the Milnes, the movie may appeal to Pooh-loving parents with young children. But the film deals with heavy themes and subject matter (post-traumatic stress, war and peace, wartime death, marital strain, tension between parents and full-time caregivers, etc.) that are too mature for little ones. You'll also see flashbacks to Milne's time in WWI (including scenes of men dead, injured, and dying in trenches, shots whizzing by, etc.), and he shuts down or becomes aggressive during moments when he's triggered and remembers the war. He even lashes out physically (though unintentionally) at his young son. A young boy is bullied by classmates, and kids may be upset by scenes of a young child missing a beloved caretaker. There's also some kissing, drinking, smoking (accurate for the era), and mild language. With a strong sense of melancholy underlining much of what happens, the movie is occasionally heartbreaking and is likely to make sensitive moviegoers cry. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This sweet, well-acted biopic follows three stories about A.A. Milne: how PTSD turned him into a pacifist, how his marriage nearly fell apart, and how Winnie the Pooh was both a blessing and a curse. Fascinating if slightly uneven, the drama reveals the complicated backstory behind some of the most beloved children's books of all time. Gleeson plays Milne as an earnest, clever artist who's suffering from post-traumatic stress; he's unable to move past his nightmares about the war and his desire to write about the need for global peace. Meanwhile, Robbie's Daphne is a social butterfly who won't stand for "blubbing" and is resentful that Milne is too consumed with his anti-war stance to write something publishable. But the movie's emotional center is Macdonald as Billy's patient, beloved nanny -- and, of course, dimpled little Tilston as the adorable, teddy bear-loving Billy Moon.
The best part of the film is seeing Milne play with Billy Moon and the stuffed animals that directly led to the creation of the legendary adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood. The (brief) father-son interaction is full of joy, and little Billy's sweet observations and childhood wisdom make it obvious how much of the stories were inspired by the real Christopher Robin. But as the books become a phenomenon, the fictional bear creates distance between Milne and Billy and eventually leads to years of resentment (not to mention bullying). At times, the well-acted, lovingly shot story doesn't feel completely cohesive, because it's so preoccupied with Milne's triggers and it introduces the distracting issues in the Milnes' marriage. But overall it's a touching look at the unique circumstances that gave birth to Winnie the Pooh and his friends.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.