Tolkien

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Tolkien
"The family built barriers to stop Hollywood intrusion into the private life of JRR, their famous son, which ironically makes for a better film." | Photo: Fox Searchlight

The Lord Of The Rings exposed!

For reasons that may not be obvious this does not happen. The family built barriers to stop Hollywood intrusion into the private life of JRR, their famous son, which ironically makes for a better film.

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Performed by English actors, directed by a Finn (Dome Karukoski) and scripted by David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford, the only criticism, which for some would be a quality, is that the mood and pace reflects the period with considerable accuracy.

Telling the story of Tolkien’s (Nicholas Hoult) formative years, the film uses the Battle of the Somme as its present tense. Tolkien is wounded and worries more about his friends than his survival. From this viewpoint, the film moves gently into a series of flashbacks.

Trapped in upper middle class conformity with its strict rules of behaviour makes a young man’s passion for reading and a musical student, called Edith (Lily Collins), a fellow tenant in a headmaster’s house in Oxford, seem a natural extension of good manners - you don’t show off, you don’t kiss-and-tell, you hardly kiss at all unless you are certain no one is watching. The orphan outsider Tolkien with his odd foreign name that no one can pronounce keeps his head down. He’s clever but would never boast about it.

Tolkien’s social deprivation assumes a delicate balance between shyness and the unlikely friendship with a gang of three, the loudest group of funbusters in his year. Captivation of Edith is unrequited for much of the time and his writing is in its infancy.

The war changes everything, as wars do, especially one so close and bitter. The importance of friendship and affection is more important than ever. JRR, the writer, lies dormant in the silence of his enclosed imagination in which literature and love are waiting to bloom amongst the debris of destruction.

Reviewed on: 04 May 2019
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The story of the younger years of the Lord Of The Rings author.

Director: Dome Karukoski

Writer: David Gleeson, Stephen Beresford

Starring: Lily Collins, Nicholas Hoult, Laura Donnelly, Patrick Gibson, Genevieve O'Reilly, Pam Ferris, Derek Jacobi, Colm Meaney, Craig Roberts, Mimi Keene, Anthony Boyle, Tom Glynn-Carney, Harry Gilby, Ty Tennant, Aaron Neil

Year: 2019

Runtime: 112 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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