This film by Finnish director Dome Karukoski, written by David Gleeson with Stephen Beresford, focusses on the early life and influencing factors that shaped the mind and creativity of the Catholic Oxford professor JRR Tolkien, author of classic high fantasy works including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.
Nicholas Hoult plays Tolkien with enthusiasm and relish, capturing the spirit of the linguistic genius and storyteller. Edith Bratt (played by Lily Collins) a fellow orphan and future wife to Tolkien is his strong and loyal supporter. Co-stars Anthony Boyle, Tom Glynn-Carney and Patrick Gibson play Tolkien's schoolmates Geoffrey Bache Smith, Christopher Wiseman, and Robert Quilter Gilson. The four pledge an unending fellowship that indeed follows them through school into WW1 and the trenches.
The film's main themes of love, courage and fellowship that shaped the life of Tolkien, provide a platform of understanding within the mind-set of an Edwardian lad caught up in circumstances beyond his control. There's a romanticism of chivalry and honour that some may find a bit uncomfortable or unbelievable in this age of immediate gratification.
Tolken was also a gifted linguist, inventing four different languages in childhood that later helped secure him a place at Oxford. The magical quality of his language would later be found in his literary themes of "the quest, the journey".
The cinematography is a treat for the senses! The war scenes are a bit intense yet meaningful in their execution. There are dozens of " hidden gems" to look out for, from an image reflected in Tolkien's iris to literary references. The performances were all excellent p resulting in a convincing biopic drama that made for a thoroughly enjoyable, worthwhile film and evening. Well worth five stars!
Watch the official trailer here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Girzu81oS8Q
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