Review of 'Tolkien'

tolkien.jpg “Tolkien” tells the story of the early years of the famous Lord of the Rings author, J.R.R. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult as an adult, Harry Gilby as a child). In the horrors of the first world war Tolkien sees images from the novels he would go onto write all around him and he thinks back to his early days. Orphaned as a child, he and his brother are put under the care of Father Francis who finds a home for them with a kindly, rich woman. Here Tolkien becomes close friends with fellow border Edith and forms a close friendship with three other boys calling themselves the Team Club, Barrovian Society (TCBS). Father Francis does not approve of Edith, encouraging Tolkien to put off the relationship until he has completed his university studies at Oxford. He learns later that Edith is engaged and the winds of war approach…

An quiet but interesting and moving story of one of the greats of modern fiction. There is a good deal of fun and excitement here but it is not generally of the fantastic kind – Just young people learning to spread their wings and find true love. Indeed, if you are expecting scenes of epic fantasy you will be sorely disappointed as these are very few and far between, instead here we concentrate on the man himself and the motivations that drove him and the emotions that sustained him. There is never any huge, massive drama here (other than the war, obviously) but the film does seem to sustain itself and keep the viewer interested despite the calm, measured dialogue.

The film looks great and really evokes a sense of the early 20th century with the gritty and visceral brutality of the first world war battlefields brought vividly to life. Seeing the yellow mustard gas creep along the muddy trenches…

A wonderful film of one of the best, and perhaps most misunderstood, authors of all time: J.R.R. Tolkien.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2022-08-07

Directed by: Dome Karukoski

Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Year: 2019

Length: 112 minutes

Genre: Melodrama