John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was a literal genius. I am not the world’s biggest Lord of the Rings or Hobbit fans, but I respect what those stories accomplished in book and movie form. There’s so much story within the story that no matter how many times I watch the films, there is probably a thousand things I missed or still don’t understand.
Those masterpieces came from one mind and that mind had been through a lot when ink met paper. Tolkien gives us only a glimpse into the man’s life from the death of his mother to heartbreak and Oxford, to the front lines of World War I where his friends never come home. The movie takes us through the lows and the few highs that Tolkien experienced on his journey from boy to man, from best friend to husband, and then loving father.
To be quite honest with all of you. Tolkien is slow paced and takes from past to present so many times that it could put you to sleep. I’m being serious, I had a hard time keeping awake. The story never jumps out to you. It doesn’t aim for or reach the lofty expectations people will have for the film. There are numerous angles to Tolkien’s life story, but his adult love with Edith (Lily Collins) is the best part of everything. Collins, along with Nicholas Hoult, light up the scenes and have great chemistry together. I’d be thrilled to see this power couple in real life.
I didn’t know what to expect going into this and although it didn’t meet any expectations it also didn’t let me down. There’s so much to talk about and this particular film barely touches upon it all. I’m sure you can a lot learn more about his life on Wikipedia than you can in this movie, even though it tries it’s best to show you the many glimpses into how he created his own language and created Middle Earth. At the end of it all, we would all say we’ve seen better biographies, but there are thousands of worse ones. Tolkien falls in the middle and thanks to some great performances, make up for any and all flaws. 6/10