DIRECTOR: Dome Karukoski (tom of finland)
starring: nicholas hoult, lily collins, colm meaney, and derek jacobi
REVIEWER: emily carter
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.
After decades amongst the tales of Middle Earth, here's an enrapturing film about the intriguing man behind the myth.
While it almost feels blasphemous to say, I was not an avid fan of The Hobbit or The Lord of The Rings growing up, but I have found myself to be quite the fan of Tolkien - the man and the movie.
This moving biopic stars Nicholas Hoult as John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, a boy who grew up with mystical stories theatrically relayed by his mother, before becoming orphaned. Tolkien and his brother are adopted by an overtly charitable Mrs Faulkner, joining her and Edith in her home. Tolkien attends a prestigious school and meets a group of boys also nurturing a sometimes-secret passion for art and literature.
The film follows Tolkien through school, university, meeting Edith and the frighteningly formative years of war. There's sweeping romance folded within gorgeous English settings, rich dialogue and pieces of Tolkien's work cleverly (and sometimes visually) woven throughout.
The boyhood-into-adulthood bond of his school friends is unmistakably the largest piece of the story chosen to be told in Tolkien. His group of friends obviously honed their skills and mastered their chosen arts on the backs of each other's opinions, and their relationship adds a lot of fun and joy to the film.
Lily Collins is a radiant Edith, an actress you know you can depend on to portray a character with class and believability. And Nicholas Hoult is just as engaging, a surprisingly dominant figure capturing a darkness and whimsical nature all at once.
The war scenes become instrumental in reflecting some of the parts of Tolkien's stories that we know and love, and we're given the opportunity to see inside his influences and his profound intelligence.
His biggest titles were ground-breaking and now his biopic deserves some spotlight too. Hobbit fans should make sure they go back to the beginning with Tolkien.