Tolkien (2019) Review



Tolkien was everything I wanted from a biopic of one of the greatest authors of all time giving us an insight into his tough early years and the challenges he faced during the war but is portrayed as an honourable man who was loyal to his friends and had a stunning intellect. The battle scenes are spectacular capturing the horrors of war while also inspiring Tolkien to create his greatest works. Personally I consider this a must-see.

Plot: Tolkien explores the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school. This takes him into the outbreak of World War I, which threatens to tear the “fellowship” apart. All of these experiences would inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-Earth novels.

Review: I had always wondered why it had taken so long for a biopic on one of the greatest authors of all time so when I heard J.R.R. Tolkien was finally getting one I couldn’t wait to see it. I’ve read the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion and his other works so can safely say I am a big fan of Middle Earth and Peter Jackson’s LOTR films are some of my favourite movies of all time.

Nicholas Hoult plays the young Tolkien and this biopic goes into his early years going through school with his group of friends who want to “change the world” when they grow up. These scenes are interspersed with Tolkien in the trenches during World War 1 as he tries to search for one of his friends. The war scenes have a terrible beauty to them and although Tolkien witnessed unspeakable horrors he also got his inspiration for The Hobbit and LOTR Saga. During some of the battles we see flashes of the Nazgul, Balrog, Sauron and more which really works perfectly in keeping the viewer engaged.

The supporting cast includes Derek Jacobi as one of Tolkien’s inspirational teachers who also shared his love for language and the always wonderful Colm Meaney who is the good natured Priest who helped take care of Tolkien after his mother’s passing.

The relationship between Tolkien and his wife to be Edith is wonderfully romantic and it’s her that introduces him to Wagner’s Ringcycle which Tolkien stole fr– sorry found inspiration from. I’m not sure how much of this is true but it works dramatically and Hoult and Lily Collins are well cast and their scenes together are some of the best of the movie. Tolkien’s love for language is explored and is one of the most important aspects of who he was as he studied languages since he was a young child and it was behind his creation of Middle Earth and its various dialects.

The movie is beautifully shot with a sublime score from Thomas Newman with some wonderful choral pieces reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings movies.

Some have complained that it is a little dry and your typical biopic which I suppose is true but as someone who adores Tolkien’s works it’s a film I loved every second of and will happily rewatch time and again over the years.

Overall, Tolkien is a beautifully realised biopic with a cast who give their all and even if some of it may not be 100% historically accurate I think it is a fitting tribute to literary genius, stunningly shot and with a sublime music score making this one of my favorite movies of the year.