Movie Review – ‘Tolkien’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Not many care for biographical films on certain figures of history these days. I say that with the highest respect in regards to the film I’m reviewing here. But it’s a shame many of these biographical films on certain authors of famous works of literature get overlooked when being shown at cinemas.

My parents and I had a challenge trying to get to see the latest film ‘Tolkien’ at the cinema lately. The film was released on the 3rd of May 2019 in the UK. But since its release, it hasn’t had many showing times. It seems to be out for a short time despite the promotion that it seems to have had.

Thankfully my parents and I were able to see the film at the cinema and I’m glad we did before its duration at certain cinemas comes to an end. If you’d like to see the film on the big screen, you’d be advised to see it as soon as possible. Otherwise, you’ll have to see it when it gets a release on DVD.

With that said, I enjoyed ‘Tolkien’ as a film. I hadn’t read many reviews and I don’t think it’s been highly praised. But from what I’ve seen, I found this an intriguing and enjoyable film on the man who went to create the fantasy worlds of Middle-Earth in the many books published in the 20th century.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien authored books such as ‘The Hobbit’, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Silmarillion’ set in his extraordinary fantasy world of Middle-Earth. The film doesn’t necessarily focus on the books he wrote, but it does focus on his early life and how he was inspired to write his novels.

I knew a little of Tolkien’s early life during his school days in Birmingham and when he went to study in Oxford from watching the Tolkien documentaries on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ DVD documentaries. But it was intriguing to see it dramatised and how Tolkien formed a ‘fellowship’ with three dear friends.

Nicholas Hoult stars as Tolkien in the film. I really liked the performance Nicholas Hoult delivered, giving a believable interpretation of what Tolkien would have been like when growing up with his love for language and literature and the friendships he’d formed as he studied at school and college.

The film also focuses on Tolkien’s experience of fighting in the First World War. Watching those war scenes reminded me of how horrific war is and how traumatising it must’ve been for Tolkien to go through that, especially as he loses his friends during those terrible days on the Battle of the Somme.

The film features Anthony Boyle as Geoffrey Bache Smith, Patrick Gibson as Robert Q. Gilson and Tom Glynn-Carney as Christopher Wiseman. These are Tolkien’s three friends who formed the Tea Club and Barrovian Society (the T.C.B.S.) when studying school in Birmingham in their younger days.

Watching the four friends including Tolkien put me in mind of the ‘fellowship’ that gets echoed in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, especially in the four hobbits featured in the epic story. It was interesting to see how the friends Tolkien made grew together to share various interests in art, music and poetry.

There’s also Lily Collins as Edith Bratt, who becomes Tolkien’s lifelong love and wife in life. I liked the romance between Tolkien and Edith in the film and it definitely reminded me of the Aragorn and Arwen love story featured in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ as well as Beren and Lúthien set in Middle-Earth.

The film also featured Colm Meaney (well-known for playing Chief O’Brien in ‘Star Trek’) as Father Francis Morgan, Tolkien’s legal guardian. There was also Derek Jacobi (the Master in ‘Doctor Who’) as Professor Joseph Wright and Pam Ferris (Miss Trunchbull in ‘Matilda’) as Mrs. Faulkner in the film.

I’m glad I’ve seen ‘Tolkien’ at the cinema with my parents. From what I’ve seen, I found this a mostly faithful dramatisation of Tolkien’s early life at school and college before fighting in the First World War and before writing ‘The Hobbit’ as well as when he had his friendships and his romance with Edith Bratt.

If you ever get a chance to see ‘Tolkien’ at the cinema, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it and find it interesting about the man who created Middle-Earth. If you get the film when it comes out on DVD, then that’s great too. Overall, my parents and I had a good time seeing this and I’m glad we were able to see it.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Movie Review – ‘Tolkien’

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      I think you’ll enjoy this when it comes out on DVD. It’s an interesting insight into Tolkien and his early life before he went on to write ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’.

      Many thanks.

      Tim. 🙂



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