"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Movie Review: Tolkien (2019)

Greetings dwarves, elfs, hobbits, and wizards!

Today I am reviewing a film about a very famous author. Someone who created worlds and languages now explored by many. If you haven't guessed from my salutation (or the title of this post. I always forget about that...), you soon will!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. This is spoiler free!

Tolkien (2019):
Based on: the life of author J. R. R. Tolkien.
"Men should be comrades wherever they come from."
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is in the middle of WWI. After receiving a letter from the worried mother of one of his friends, he begins a trek to find her son, though he himself is sick and feverish. While doing this he relives his past, all of the years he was growing up, and begins to find inspiration in the terrible war scenes. Accompanied by Private Hodges he walks accross abandoned battlefields in search of his comrade, will they be able to find him?
'"Now what do we do?"
"We change the world."
"Oh good, something simple."'
Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance.
Length: approx. 112 minutes.
Costumes: 9, very fitting for the time, plus there are some lovely dresses and whatnot.
Script: 10, no bad words or swearing, I believe!
"Things aren't beautiful because of how they sound. They're beautiful because of what they mean."
Crew: Directed by: Dome Karukoski. Written by: David Gleeson & Stephen Beresford.
Nicholas Hoult as J.R.R. Tolkien.
Harry Gilby as young J.R.R. Tolkien.
Anthony Boyle as Geoffrey Smith.
Adam Bregman as young Geoffrey Smith.
Tom Glynn-Carney as Christopher Wiseman.
Ty Tennant as young Christopher Wiseman.
Patrick Gibson as Robert Gilson.
Albie Marber as young Robert Gilson.
"We are your brothers through everything."
Craig Roberts as Private Sam Hodges.
Lily Collins as Edith Bratt.
Mimi Keene as young Edith Bratt.
James MacCallum as Hilary Tolkien.
Guillermo Bedward as young Hilary Tolkien.
Laura Donnelly as Mabel Tolkien.
Derek Jacobi as Professor Wright.
Genevieve O'Reilly as Mrs. Smith.
Colm Meaney as Father Francis.
Pam Ferris as Mrs. Faulkner.
Owen Teale as Headmaster Gilson.
Mia Woods & Sienna Woods as Priscilla Tolkien.
Paul Gurcel Escudero as Michael Tolkien.
Harry Webster as John Tolkien Jr..
Jack Riley as Christopher Tolkien.
Kallum Tolkien as Second Soldier.
Cinematography: 10, there were a lot of elements woven in that made it pretty spectacular on a visual scale!
Cinematography by: Lasse Frank.
Music: 9, I've been listening to the score while writing this and I'd forgotten how pretty it is! Light and airy while being magical.
Music by: Thomas Newman.
Quotability: 6, I haven't found myself quoting this a lot since I watched it, but my sister has. I thought that this was a trifle amusing:
"The stick was a metaphor, drop the stick." (paraphrase)
Content: 6, there are many war scenes involving the aftermath of battles, death, sickness, blood, and people on fire. In addition to that there are sometimes when characters are a little intoxicated, and one or two suggestive comments. If you don't feel good about those war scenes, you might want to be ready to skip a tiny bit. It's not super bad, but it's present. You know, I've seen far worse.
Originality: 9, I hadn't heard about Tolkien's life, so I didn't know much besides his most famous trilogy. In fact, anything that I did know about him took place after the timeline of this film, so it was unique to look into his childhood and young adult years.
Good For: Lord of the Rings fans, anyone who has lost friends and needed to find them.
NOTE: I recommend this movie, but there are lots of spoilers for the Lord of the Rings books, so don't watch this until you read those, or see the movie adaptations.
Age Range: It is PG-13, but primarily for those gruesome scenes. Violence and that kind of thing doesn't bother me as much as other things, but as I always say, it depends on the person.
Overall Score: 8.5!
Worth watching?: Oh yes! Though I'm sure a few things were fictional to add suspense and the like, I really enjoyed this glimpse into his life. It was an all around enjoyable movie and I can't think of a part that I didn't like.
"Lock all of this in you heart, lock it tight, and it will be there forever. I promise."
Will I watch again?: It is one of my older sister's favorite movies, so yes, I imagine I'll be watching it with her in the future some more.
Bonus thoughts:
"Languages never steal. Influence."
I would never have picked Nicholas Hoult to play Tolkien, but after watching it I can't think of anyone else. He is so earnest, you believe him in whatever he says and are interested to see where he goes. I'm not even that interested in languages and the structure and origin behind them, but when he talks about them I think, "Ah, this is so fascinating!". As for the other actors, Lily Collins was lovely and I was happily surprised to see Derek Jacobi (because, as you can see on my sidebar, he's one of my favorites).
I'm becoming more and more familiar with stories told in a broken timeline, and this one was ideal for it. Instead of dragging in places you are always wanting to know what will happen next. I loved looking for the references to his books, though I am sure that I missed many. I will fully recommend this to any and all Lord of the Rings fans, because even if it doesn't turn out to be your new favorite thing, it is a goregous way to spend a couple of hours.

And, as per usual I can't find half as many pictures as I want that do it justice, so you'll just have to watch for yourself!

Guess what? This is another entry in Hamlette's Tolkien Blog Party! I'm so happy to be joining with two posts this time around when I only had one in the four other years I did it. This is her eighth party, and here's to many more in the years to come! Check out all of the other entries HERE.

Thanks for reading! First, let me know if you've seen this, then tell me your favorite biographical film!



  1. I thought Nicholas Hoult was really lovely in this too! The scenes with Derek Jacobi were my favourites I think :)

    1. I now want to see more films with Nicholas Hoult! All of the scenes with Derek Jacobi had me grinning so much because they were awesome. :) Thanks for commenting!

  2. Replies
    1. I think you would really enjoy this, Ivy. I hope to read your review of it once you see it!

  3. I loved this movie! It was so good, the dark academia aesthetic was great too.

    1. Yes! The whole aesthetic was so fantastic and fit so well with the story!

  4. I love this movie. I think the actors were excellent. It strayed a bit from the actual timeline, but not too badly, and most biographical movies do anyway. My whole family enjoyed it.

    1. It is so good! Right, most biographical movies add extra things for drama and whatnot, but this one seemed to not do it too much. All of the actors did great jobs!

  5. This movie sounds SO good and I just can't wait to watch it ACK

    1. Yes, Faith! You will love it! You need to watch ASAP.


To comment, or not to comment? That is the question. Whatever you decide, I would love to hear from you!! I am always open to suggestions, advice, and any other comments! Even if you don't agree with me, I would love to hear from you as long as you keep the comment respectful and on subject. And, please, no swearing. I love comments on old posts!!
My computer won't let me leave comments, so it might take a few days, but I will reply!

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, where you stop your story." -Orson Welles