Winnie the Pooh and chums may have delighted millions of children, but the actual boy who inspired it was not so pleased. This is the story of Christopher Robin, played by Will Tilston then Alex Lawther (‘The Theory of Everything’), and his parents: writer AA Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and wife Daphne (Margot Robbie).
Born to a mother who wanted a girl and a father with what would now be diagnosed as PTSD, he turns to his nanny (an excellent Kelly Macdonald) for comfort in their remote country home. When both women are away, Billy Moon, as his parents call him, has a chance to bond with his father, introducing him to his toy bear, piglet, tiger and co. An idea is born, but when Milne’s ‘Winnie the Pooh’ books become a success, the distance between father and son increases.
It’s a poignant tale, handsomely shot in a credible period setting. Gleeson’s good, though his youth works against him in later scenes. The normally luminous Margot Robbie is miscast, her talent stifled by a self-conscious English accent. Macdonald is by far the most sympathetic character – it all has plenty to say about parenting traditions of the wealthy, and not much of it favourable. But fans of Pooh and co get enough to make this an informative nostalgia fix – and little Will Tilston is just adorable.