Goodbye Christopher Robin – Sad, but a Needed Real Life Story

Goodbye childhood, would be a better title for this sad, sad film. And in a way it is, for both the audience watching this as well as the title character “Billy Moon” who for most of us has been Christopher Robin from the Winnie-the-Pooh books written by his father A. A. Milne. Then of course there is the Disney movie that also has added to many of our childhoods, making Winnie-the-Pooh one of the most beloved characters of all time because if his innocence that it’s impossible to hate him or be irritated by him.

A plot summary, sadly, taken from real life:

A. A. Milne returns from WWI shell-shocked to his wife Daphne, a London socialite and a party person, and they have a son named Christopher. Growing up Christopher’s parents are going away constantly and he grows up being closer to his nanny Olive whom he calls “Nou” and his stuffed animals. His father gets inspiration from him and writes the famous books, changing Christopher’s life forever.


Domhall Gleeson as A. A. Milne is both sympathetic and unsympathetic. We understand him and his reasons, why he would write these books, but we get angry at him for not seeing that his writing has consequences for his son. His wife Daphne is played by Margot Robbie who really tests your patience as the socialite who seeks fun and luxury, but then one remembers that she is a product of her times as much as A. A. Milne was when he wrote the books and we are left with pity for them both.

As a surprisingly good young Christopher “Billy Moon” is Will Tilston who is adorable, emotional and whom for our hearts root for. He truly steals your heart from the first and doesn’t let it go even as he grows up to be Alex Lawther. His smile is such a sweet thing that as the film shows the dark side of fame your heart goes out for him even more as his smile starts to fade.

Kelly Macdonald as “Nou” is wonderful as she is the one who sees the problem with all the cameras, interviews and how they affect “Billy Moon”. You want her to stay and take care of Christopher but as she has her own life she cannot. In a way we are her, wanting to take care of Christopher, but in the end we have to let him go

I have to say this before you go on and watch the movie, but it really is a sad, sad story. So prepare tissues and a shoulder to cry on. You will feel both happy and sad to know about the true story of the beloved book characters, but as the title says goodbye to Christopher Robin, we all have to embrace our hearts to say hello to “Billy Moon” and his story.









There is a certain type of cage for the darkness presented in the film, from war to fame as A. A. Milne and “Billy Moon” that they both have to live with.

The film has upon the darkness as thick as the ink in the illustrations of the books. War and its disastrous consequences are shown as well as how they effect not just the person who goes to one, but the loved ones as well. How innocent things can become in a second a forced recollection in to the trenches. A balloon popping is a gun firing, bees are the noise of the enemy and the same with flashes of light.

The price of fame is bullying, the loss of childhood and fun. It’s a curse one cannot escape and yet one has to embrace because the name is yours and yours alone. Every time someone mentions Winnie-the-Pooh or Christopher Robin there is a clear distaste that comes in to ones mouth because we have seen this little boy grow by the nickname “Billy Moon”. We are as disgusted as “Nou” that he is exploited for photographs, interviews and in front of the camera as the “Real Christopher Robin” and he looses his childhood thanks to his parents want for fame and money, while they disregard him unless he can be of some use to them. Now there is commentary one can gaze upon in any day time reality TV-show with children in it.

These two things, fame and war, seem so distant from one another, but they both bring misery to people to some degree. Childhood friends and toys are given to the world and not cherished as one’s personal memories of happiness for all time. It makes one feel guilty, but then in the end as A. A. Milne and teenage Christopher talk to one another they come in to the conclusion that Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends were something the world needed at the time, a light after the darkness of war.

And it is true even now, even after watching this film and learning the reality of the situation of the writing of these books. One is inevitably going to learn bad things about authors and artists one admires, but that does not diminish the art nor should it, the art is separate from the ideal as long as it’s explicitly so and one can learn to live with the reality of it.

Indeed I remember watching the Disney movie many times with my favourite character being Piglet because I was born in the Chinese calendar’s Year of The Boar thus pig. Also he (yea it was quite surprising to learn that one I’d thought to be a she is a he, then again I blame it on social changes of thinking pink is a “girls” colour in the first place when gender shouldn’t decree colour in clothing in the first place) was socially awkward and shy like me for most of my childhood, still sort of am, but I saw myself in him and that is why he was my favourite. I didn’t know about the real story or that they were based on someone in real life for years until maybe a google search or just cultural osmosis, either or both I think. Still, now knowing the true story doesn’t diminish my love for the books or Piglet, instead it makes me glad to know it and appreciate the books more (I think they are still in out family library) even though the author puts a sour taste in my mouth.

Watch this video for more info on Christopher! Personally made me understand him more in trying to disassociate from his family name and make something of himself for himself.






Thank you for reading! 

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