Goodbye Christopher Robin is a historical drama, set just after WWI, which tells how the much-loved Winnie the Pooh books by A.A. Milne were created. Alan Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) returns from the battlefields of WWI, traumatised and suffering from shell shock. He tries to return to his career as a playwright in London but has difficulty adapting. He takes his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) and their new baby son, Christopher Robin, to the country for peace and quiet. Daphne is portrayed as an ambitious socialite who loves partying and who delegates the raising of her son to a nanny called Olive (Kelly MacDonald), or ‘Nou’ as Christopher Robin calls her. At one point, Daphne leaves Alan and Christopher Robin (Will Tilston) to return to London.
Christopher Robin, who is called Billy Moon by his parents, is an inquisitive and imaginative child. He loves playing with his animal toys. He is distraught when Nou has to leave to go to her dying mother. Alan and Billy are left alone, and during this time they bond. Alan takes Billy into the woods and they play games together, which inspires the writing of the Winnie the Pooh stories.
Christopher Robin is the boy in the stories, and he’s thrown into the public eye, much against Nou’s advice. But Daphne is quite pleased with the media attention, and Christopher Robin must attend many public receptions and meet many fans. Christopher Robin grows up to resent this attention and the theft of his childhood. When he reaches 17, he goes off to fight in WWII.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
War and the effects of war; childhood; the loss of childhood
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
Goodbye Christopher Robin has some violence. For example:
- There is a brief scene of a battlefield, with bombs exploding and dead soldiers lying in the trenches.
- A few times, Alan reacts badly to loud sounds and bright flashing lights. One time he yells at Christopher Robin and Nou to get away from him. Another time when Christopher Robin playfully jumps on his back, Alan responds by nearly strangling the boy.
- Alan tells Christopher Robin not to hold his knife and fork pointing up. This is in case someone falls from above, is impaled and ‘bleeds out all over his breakfast’.
- Christopher Robin is bullied at school and pushed down the stairs several times. The boys chant, ‘Nobody cares, nobody cares when Christopher Robin got thrown down the stairs’.
Content that may disturb children
Children in this age group are likely to be scared by the violent scenes from Goodbye Christopher Robin,described above.
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Goodbye Christopher Robin has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example, Christopher Robin is distraught when Nou has to leave for a while. He throws his toys and cries and yells at her.
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Goodbye Christopher Robin has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:
- Daphne is heard screaming during childbirth, and she’s obviously in a lot of pain. At first she rejects the baby and is shown crying. She mentions several times that giving birth to Christopher Robin almost killed her.
- Nou meets a man whom she later marries. Christopher Robin is jealous of the man, and he thinks no one loves him.
- Nou resigns from her post, which really upsets Christopher Robin.
- Christopher Robin is sent off to boarding school shortly after Nou’s resignation and feels abandoned.
- Nou is terribly upset when Alan visits her with the news that Christopher Robin is probably dead.
Younger children in this age group could be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Nothing of concern
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Goodbye Christopher Robin shows some use of substances. For example, people drink and smoke a lot at social events and at home.
Nudity and sexual activity
Goodbye Christopher Robin has some mild sexual activity. For example, Alan and Daphne kiss on a couple of occasions, once in bed.
Nothing of concern
There is some mild coarse language in Goodbye Christopher Robin.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Goodbye Christopher Robin is a beautifully filmed, nostalgic historical drama. Set in the glorious English countryside, it is visually attractive. But the movie also deals with some intense subjects like post-traumatic stress disorder, father-son relationships, neglect and sadness. It is therefore not a children’s movie and is more targeted to an adult audience.
Goodbye Christopher Robin isn’t recommended for children under 12 years, and we also recommend parental guidance for children aged 12-15 years.
The main message from this movie is that the most important thing for children is the love you give them and time you spend with them.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the importance of communicating how you feel. Why is it so hard for Christopher Robin’s parents to show any affection? They obviously love him but seem unable to hug or cuddle him at all. The only hugs come from Nou.