“Goodbye Christopher Robin” might depict the origins of the much-beloved Winnie-the-Pooh, but it is definitely not a kid’s movie, despite some precocious mugging from the mop-topped tot (Will Tilston) of the film’s title. On one level it’s a cautionary tale about what happens when parents pimp their kids for fame and fortune. You could say Alan Alexander Milne (the ubiquitous Domhnall Gleeson) and his beautiful socialite wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) were early practitioners of the Kardashian celebrity model.

But on a deeper level the movie accentuates life’s simple pleasures and the importance of family and relationships. It’s that element that director Simon Curtis (“My Life With Marilyn”) — along with screenwriters Frank Cottrell-Boyce and first-timer Simon Vaughan — trickles on the treacle. Commence exasperated eye rolling.

Just back from war, Gleeson plays Milne, known endearingly as Blue for his perpetual glum mood. He’s a West End playwright and a bit of a prig who wants to write a book that stops people from going to war. Much to Daphne’s objections, Blue ditches London and uproots the family to the Sussex countryside to reside in a grand brick home surrounded by acres of woods. It is solitude he craves, but does not get because the script sends the unhappy Daphne into full-on sulk before she splits. She’s all about fighting for her right to party. And what about the son she never wanted? No worries, Irish nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald, terrific per usual) will tend to little Christopher, who preciously goes by the nickname Billy Moon.

With Mom conveniently gone, father-son bonding ensues, as the pair make up imaginary characters and play games in the forest involving Billy’s favorite stuffed toy, a honey-loving bear — and his animal friends: A donkey, tiger, piglet. Dad eventually puts pen to paper and Winnie-the-Pooh is born. And because Disney owns the rights to Winnie-the-Pooh, we never see a full-drawing of the iconic bear or his friends, just rough sketches by E.H. Shepard (Stephen Campbell Moore).

What’s interesting is how Milne came up with that cast of colorful characters and some of those profoundly enduring quotes that have become Internet memes. All stem from Blue and Billy’s hang time.

“Winnie-the-Pooh” goes on to be an international sensation, bringing hope and comfort to England after World War I. The world turns its weary eyes to Christopher Robin, but at great cost to the family. Mom and Dad tote him around like a show pony to book signings and interviews, a trip to the States. A marching band even shows up at their house to play on the boy’s birthday. Billy is soon front-page news, making him a viral sensation well before the Internet. “He’s my bear. Why don’t they get their own?” the boy asks amid all the unwanted attention. Not so shockingly, the cash-cow bear turns out of be a curse.

As the older Billy, Alex Lawther (“The Imitation Game”) looks nothing like Tilston, but he nonetheless fills the thankless part of playing a bullied boy who eventually goes off to war. With no cute kid no longer holding the movie together with his dimples, the movie devolves into a manipulative weepie with sappy dialogue. Predictably, Blue realizes the errors of his ways, but it all comes a little too late. The movie only runs 90 minutes, but it feels much longer, like it’s gotten lost in the Hundred Acre Wood.

— Dana Barbuto may be reached at dbarbuto@ledger.com or follow her on Twitter @dbarbuto_Ledger.

“Goodbye Christopher Robin”

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Kelly Macdonald, Will Tilston.

(PG for thematic elements, some bullying, war images and brief language.”

Grade: B-