Tolkien (2019) Movie Review

Director: Dome Karukoski

Writer: David Gleeson, Stephen Beresford (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, Tom Glynn-Carney, Patrick Gibson, Anthony Boyle

Plot: The formative years of the orphaned author J.R.R. Tolkien as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school.


Tagline – A Life of Love, Courage, and Fellowship

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Biopic 101

Story: Tolkien starts as we see J.R.R Tolkien (Hoult) on the war field in World War I, suffering the effects of an attack, he starts to reflect on his early life, his troubled childhood before getting placed into a high society school, where his imagination ran wild, with his friends pushing the arts to come to life in them all.

As Tolkien starts to reach the crucial years of his life, his work was just starting to get looked at by the universities, while he was left to decide between love or education, just as the war was going to split everything open for him.

Thoughts on Tolkien

Characters – J.R.R. Tolkien does go through two main timelines, one is his search for his friends during the war, searching through the trenches, while the second seems to follow him from early school life, right up to the university, where he was looking to make his way in the writing field. Edith is the love interest that grow up with Tolkien, they both come from the same background and want to make the most of their lives, pushing them to expose their creative sides. We do the meet the group of friends that grew up together and learnt how to express their artistic sides.

PerformancesNicholas Hoult is strong in the leading role in the film, even though he doesn’t seem to have to do that much challenging, we have a cast that doesn’t put a foot wrong through the film, even if it is mostly easy to perform.

StoryThe story here follows J.R.R. Tolkien as he went through the education process right up to and including his time in World War I, which gave him the motivation to write the Lord of the Rings books. When it comes to breaking down the story, it is based on his real-life, this would be harder to over criticise because it is a lot of high society boys looking to break traditions of education and become artistic minds, instead of following the typical male career paths. This is about the bond of friendship which has been pushed to the limits once the war starts. We see plenty of glimpses of hints to what is coming with his Lord of the Rings material, which is something you just want to look out for.

Biopic/RomanceThe biopic side of the film shows us just how important his friends become to him, which would improve his creative mind unlike anyone else, with the romance side of the film falling short for the most part, as it is just in here.

SettingsThe film uses the high society lifestyle Tolkien was part of, it doesn’t give us enough hope that we could follow in his footsteps.


Scene of the Movie – First tea time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too much high society.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book biopic that shows how important having the right people in life can inspire you to achieve more, we have strong performances only it doesn’t give us too much hope we could follow his story.

Overall: By the Book Biopic.

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