Monday, October 2, 2017

The Curse of Pooh Bear

I guess every worldly success has its dark side. From the BBC:
Over the course of his lifetime, Milne wrote seven novels, five nonfiction books and 34 plays, along with numerous stories and articles. He worked as editor of Granta and assistant editor of Punch. His self-stated aim: to write whatever he wished. As a young writer, when Punch finally accepted one of his pieces, he had been elated. “I had proved that I could earn a living by writing. I would be editor of Punch one day. I was the happiest man in London,” he wrote in his 1939 autobiography – tellingly titled It’s Too Late Now.

Of course, Milne would also write the four children’s books that made up the Winnie the Pooh series as well as two poetry collections, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. The children’s books added up to just 70,000 words, the length of an average novel. But their enormous fame erased the memory of all the work he’d already done. (Read more.)
To quote from a review of the new film Good-bye, Christopher Robyn from Slant:
Goodbye Christopher Robin spends its opening act belaboring Milne's inability to write while barely delving into the psychological damage that triggered his writer's block. Milne's wartime trauma is reduced to a few brief flashbacks and glimpses of his recurring habit of twitching or jumping at any loud sound. And though the film sees Milne as a fierce pacifist with a resolute desire to write an antiwar novel (he would eventually publish the nonfiction Peace with Honour in 1934), it's too timid to explore his inner demons with much depth. The filmmakers instead shift the focus onto Milne's wife, Daphne (Margot Robbie), and her frustration with her husband's artistic stagnancy, as well as to Christopher, or “Billy Moon,” who eventually broke through his father's harsh exterior and inspired him to write the Winnie the Pooh poems and stories with the help of illustrator E.H. Shepard (Stephen Campbell Moore).

Although it features a handful of touching moments between Christopher and both his father and nanny, Nou (Kelly MacDonald), mostly due to a surprisingly assured, emotionally rich performance by Tilston, the film unfortunately lingers on the tedious build up to the release of 1926's Winnie-the-Pooh, only to rush through the more intriguing story of Christopher Robin's brush with fame and the resultant fallout. Christopher was flooded with fan mail and, against the advice of his beloved Nou, was also forced to spend hours every day giving interviews and making public appearances. Over the years, the strain of his accidental fame leads Christopher, now 18 and played Alex Lawther, to hold a grudge against his parents and to curse the fictional namesake that cast an unrelenting shadow over his life, leading to his being bullied and eventually enlisting in the army so as to seek anonymity. (Read more.)

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