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A A Milne and a glimpse of the Somme

I’ve been putting it off for a while – watching the Goodbye Christopher Robin film.  Grown-ups don’t need Winnie the Pooh in their lives, do they?

It’s the first day of the Summer hols and the children are exhausted.  The rain finally came after 52 dry days and a sweltering heatwave.  The end-of-term-pressure is easing and what better way to celebrate than plan some amazing holiday activities and watch a movie while the kids explore their out-of-school-freedom?  Exactly.

Goodbye Christopher Robin.

  • A telegram, terrible news and a flashback in time.
  • A uniformed A A Milne, muddy and bewildered on a battlefield.
  • A shell-shocked Milne back from the Somme and tortured by his experiences, haunted by the horrors of slaughter.
  • High society, a beautiful wife, a successful playwright.
  • Each flash of light and each sudden sound triggers flashbacks to battle.

This is not a pretty walking-carefree-through-the-woods story and I’m all in.  The birth of Christopher Robin petrifies his parents and they withhold their affections from him – until a chance set of circumstances pushes father and son AA and CR Milne (Billy Moon) together for a delightful fortnight in which they bond for the first time.  A fortnight that births Winnie-the-Pooh and his adventures in the hundred acre woods.  A fortnight that condemns a young boy to a life of fame and misery.

Any more plot-reveal would be pure spoiler-territory.  Suffice to say, this is a beautiful, heart-rending wake-up-call of a movie.

“The war-to-end-all-wars” they called that first war of the world.  But the generation of boys who survived that first world war, returned home to raise another generation who they’d send off to fight in the next “war-to-end-all-wars”.  All that horror, all that loss, all that heartache.  All those broken people.  And a tale of a bumbling bear, a piglet, a tigger, a sad donkey, a kanga and her roo in a hundred-acre wood.

A tale to lift the hearts of a wounded world and return innocence to life.

There’s more to Winnie-the-Pooh than I ever knew and perhaps I do need a little Milne magic in my life.

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