First Hit: Touchingly deep story about how the 'Winnie the Pooh' books came into existence.
Alan Milne (Domhnall Gleeson), a writer of comedic plays and books, was deeply affected by his time in the British Army during WWI, the war to end all wars. Fighting in the trenches he saw the horrors of war—bloody corpses everywhere being feasted on by flies.
Returning from the war, he had difficulty adjusting to life in London. The sudden noises and flashes of light and color brought on severe debilitating impulsive actions that were harmful to himself, his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie), and friends.
Struggling with his experience of war he wrote a book called Peace with Honour in 1934 to protest war and why countries fight with each other. However, struggling to find traction in his life and to get away from the noises that he believes are causing his post war troubles, he and Daphne move to the country. Cotchford Farm, in Hartfield Sussex was a large rambling place with acres of land filled with woods.
Soon after moving Daphne has a child, Christopher Robin Milne (Will Tilson), who is a bright inquisitive child. Neither Alan nor Daphne knew much about parenting so they hire Olive (Kelly Mcdonald) as a nanny. She and Christopher create a strong meaningful bond.
However, when Olive has to leave to tend to her mother and with Daphne in London, Alan and Christopher start spending time in the woods together. This is where the magic and healing for Alan begins and the expressive mind of Christopher is opened and Milne is inspired to write the Winnie the Pooh books, which quickly became beloved by children all over the world.
The film does an amazing job of setting the above story and segueing the story into the power of imagination. The dance between the relationships of Olive and Christopher, Christopher and his parents, Alan and Daphne and most importantly Olive and the Milne’s was powerfully effective. The acting, especially of Tilson, was extraordinary. Additionally, the scenes of an older Christopher (Alex Lawther) and Alan was amazing, especially when they talk at the overlook.
The cinematography, especially the capturing of lighting, was amazing.
Gleeson was powerful as the traumatically affected writer looking for internal creative space to process his creative angst and joy. Robbie is excellent as the mother who didn’t adjust well to motherhood but loved her son and husband. Tilson was sublime as Christopher. He captured the magic of imagination in his eyes and spirit. Mcdonald was amazing as Christopher’s nanny. Her caring heart and deep love for her own life and the life of the Milne’s was wonderfully captured. Lawther was very strong as the older Christopher trying to find a way to lose the shackles of being one of the most famous and celebrated boys in history. Frank Cottrell Boyce and Simon Vaughan wrote an excellent script. It captured the depth of the story all the way through. Simon Curtis knew what he was doing and made this story come alive in all ways. The direction of this story through these actors was amazing.
Overall: Not being familiar with Winnie the Pooh stories, I was driven to want to read them.