Updated: Aug 30, 2019
The true story about the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and his journey to become the one and only J.R.R. Tolkien. Going through the First World War, losing his mother as a child, and finding love. A story of tragedy to someone who overcomes through the power of fellowship.
I didn’t know how this movie was going to turn out due to how poorly this movie was marketed. I saw a trailer two weeks before it was released into theaters and nothing else, which was a shocker. I also wondered how much this would acknowledge the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films as those I feel will draw majority of audiences to this film, unless you are a fan of the books or Tolkien himself.
Director Dome Karukoski brought very little to the story of Tolkien and actor Nicholas Hoult made Tolkien seem like a very flat person with next to no real reason as to why he became an author. Lily Collins, playing Edith Bratt, made the love between herself and Hoult feel real, which in a way saved that key element of the film. The supporting cast was sub-par giving performances that are very forgettable and at times cringe.
This film was also very plain as far as how it was shot. Cinematographer, Lasse Frank Johannessen made Tolkien feel like an average time-pice movie that brought nothing fresh to the screen. On the bright side, composer Thomas Newman made a great score that made the film a lot better than it really was. Elevating a performances, enhancing emotion, etc. Props to him for that.
The imagery throughout the warfare was a key highlight to me. (This is where the true Lord of The Rings and Hobbit fans will get most excited) It has been said that Tolkien wrote the enemy of his books, Sauron, based on his time on the battlefield and in the trenches. Durning the battles, in explosions you see the shape of the Balrog’s face from The Fellowship of the Ring as well as Sauron himself in smoke. This brought a whole new dimension to what Tolkien’s experiences were which adds depth to how you see the characters in his books.
I personally wasn’t a huge fan of this film, which I feel I’ve clearly stated. I would have rather seen this directed by someone like Joe Wright or Gareth Edwards and seen Tolkien played by Andrew Garfield. This movie had a lot of potential, but I feel that it really missed the mark and because of that, I don’t think it portrayed Tolkien as a person or author well.
I’ll give Tolkien a 2/5.