Tolkien - film review (4 out of 5)

Tolkien
Tolkien

The works of J.R.R. Tolkien are renowned across the world - if you haven’t read any of the books the chances are you will have seen Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies.

But what of the man himself?

Director Dome Karukoski has put together a very satisfying biopic of Tolkien that centres on the love and fellowship the writer encountered in his early life that formed the basis of some of the themes in his books.

This isn’t a blow by blow account of Tolkien’s life and there are one or two ‘facts’ that can be disputed.

However, we start with Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult) and his brother enjoying life in the countryside with their mother, but they are forced to move to the heart of industrial Birmingham as the family money runs out.

There tragedy occurs and the boys are looked after by a catholic priest.

While at school Tolkien makes friends with three other pupils and they create a semi-secret society.

Tolkien also meets Edith Bratt (Lily Collins) who becomes a firm friend.

However, the First World War arrives to test all their relationships.

The bond between the four boys is well observed and the various actors playing them at different ages are impressive.

There’s also a stark contrast between the academic world and the war zone - indeed the film features the most realistic Somme battlefield scene I’ve ever seen on screen.

Tying it all together is a superb score from Thomas Newman that has a strong feeling of the mystical and magical about it.

Hoult and Collins are excellent but so is Colm Meaney as the priest and Derek Jacobi as an Oxford professor.

The movie gives a sense of where Tolkien’s fictional characters originated and his love for language.

But it’s really about the companionship and friends at the centre of all our lives.

Film details: Tolkien (12A) 112mins

Director: Dome Karukoski

Starring: Lily Collins, Nicholas Hoult, Colm Meaney

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol