Films regarding author’s lives, musicians’ lives, you name it are always a difficult task, even more so for someone with a legacy like J.R.R. Tolkien and going into this film I had high expectations as a massive fan of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised.
After the death of his mother, Tolkien and his brother are left in the new city of Birmingham where Tolkien meets friends he will hold close to him forever through the society they call the T.C.B.S, Tea Club and Barrovian Society. Mirroring The Fellowship of the Ring, this is a story about family, changing the world through art, loyalty and the unmistakably difficult choice between love and education.
Despite the fact that this film was basically Dead Poets Society 2.0, something I’m not complaining about as that is one of my favourite movies, this film had its own little quirks. Viewers get to see Tolkien’s time at war and how it inspired the creation of Mordor and his relationship with his future wife Edith Bratt played by the outstanding Lily Collins and how she influenced the elvish folk we all love. The visuals were a whole other story. The contrast between the beauty of the trees, the bright, open nature of Oxford with the dark, ominous and nothing but brutal horrors of war was done perfectly.
As for the cast, Nicholas Holt was the perfect actor for this role, portraying the author with depth and passion. And the chemistry between him and Lily Collins really brought the romance alive. That one scene where they are sat in the fancy restaurant talking about the power of words, Edith coaxing Tolkien to tell her a story was nothing but entertaining and definitely brought out the inner English nerd within.
Yet, this film also has its faults. For one, if you’re not a fan of Tolkien’s trilogy, I would highly recommend avoiding seeing this film as you will easily get bored. It’s not an action movie, it is very slow paced and without the war flashbacks, I can undoubtedly say I would have fallen asleep. This film could have been shorter and I have to say I was disappointed with the ending but if you’re looking for a movie that brings to life in a poetic and charming light the life of Tolkien and how exactly The Lord of the Rings came to be, it ticks all the boxes.