PG-13, May 2019, 1h 52m
I have to admit, I knew nothing about the man himself, but have of course watched Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. I haven’t even read any of his books. After having seen, what this man had to experience in his youth, I guess I want to read it all in his own words.
It tells the story of a young J.R.R. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult), who lost his father and a bit later his mother, growing up with his brother in a foster home of a rich relative, under the strict eyes of the church, and without much love or understanding. At school, however, he meets 3 boys, with whom he develops almost instantly a close bond, a brotherhood through thick and thin. And he finds love in the orphaned Edith Bratt (Lily Collins), who is living in the same foster home. He keeps escaping into his own world by inventing new languages (the Elf-language Quenya is based on Finnish language, the ed.), and creating little stories accompanying them. The outbreak of WWI takes him through unspeakable horrors.
He processes all those experiences, the beauties and the horrors, in his books, and we can find them clearly in his stories, the fellowship, the tragic love relationships (see e.g. “Beren and Luthien”, the ed.) – they all come from his own life experiences. *
If you are a fan of his stories, I can only recommend this movie, masterminded by Finnish director Thomas “Dome” Karukoski. I give it a 8 out of 10, because in some parts the story felt a bit unnecessary prolonged. But a great movie anyways.
* If you want to know more about Tolkien’s truly adventurous youth and the “Inkling” fellowship, read e.g. Humphrey Carpenter’s Tolkien biography; the ed.