- 1 hr 51 min
Tolkien is a biographical drama film directed by Dome Karukoski, which chronicles the early life of renowned author J.R.R. Tolkien. The film stars Nicholas Hoult as Tolkien, alongside Lily Collins as his wife Edith Bratt, and Colm Meaney as Father Francis Morgan, his guardian and mentor. The movie is set in the early 20th century, and begins with young Tolkien as an orphaned boy, living with his brother Hilary, and their father's friend, Father Francis. Tolkien is portrayed as an imaginative and curious child, with an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a love for creating stories and languages of his own. The film gradually depicts how Tolkien's personal experiences and relationships shaped his literary works, particularly The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
As a teenager, Tolkien attends King Edward's School in Birmingham, where he forms a close friendship with three other boys; Geoffrey, Robert, and Christopher, who later becomes his closest confidant and literary executor. The boys develop a shared love for literature, arts, and music, and begin to call themselves the "Tea Club and Barrovian Society". The film showcases how their camaraderie and the beautiful landscapes of the countryside inspired Tolkien, who often found solace in his writing, particularly during his turbulent years of combat in World War I.
The film explores Tolkien's relationship with Edith Bratt, whom he met as a young man and fell in love with. However, their romance is threatened when Father Francis objects their relationship, due to her being a Protestant and Tolkien being a Catholic. This obstacle gives rise to one of the major themes of the movie, which is the challenge of pursuing love and artistic passion while adhering to societal expectations and the traditional values of family and religion.
Throughout the movie, the audience is given glimpses into Tolkien's creative process, which was often based on his own experiences and emotions. The film shows how he drew inspiration from his love for language and mythology, particularly Nordic and Celtic folklore. His fascination with the mythologies and histories of these cultures not only influenced his writing but also gave rise to his invention of fictional languages, such as Elvish and Dwarvish.
One of the most striking aspects of the movie is its elegant and captivating cinematography. The film employs a variety of visual techniques, including flashback sequences, dreamlike sequences, and montages, to convey Tolkien's personal journey and the evolution of his imagination. The moments where Tolkien begins to visualize his creatures and characters are particularly enchanting, as he contemplates his invented world, Middle Earth.
While the movie's main focus is Tolkien's early years, it also touches on his impact on 20th-century literature as a whole. The film makes an effort to pay homage to his literary legacy and the joy he brought to readers worldwide, as the Lord of the Rings books are some of the most beloved and successful in history.
Overall, Tolkien is a well-crafted and engrossing biopic that offers a unique insight into one of the world's most celebrated authors. The film explores his personal life and creative temperament with sincerity and beauty, offering insights into the thought process and inspiration that birthed one of the most culturally significant pieces of literature in the modern era. With its excellent performances and captivating visuals, the movie serves as a worthy tribute to Tolkien's life and works.
Tolkien is a 2019 war movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 51 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 48.