This is a very good and touching biopic about the genesis of J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe (what he called his legendarium, set in the Middle-Earth, which includes novels like The Hobbit and Lord of the rings) without really talking about it. It is quite subtle and interesting. Very well done. Although, I am a little disappointed as I was under the impression that the movie was about the Inklings, a literary club that Tolkien (played by Nicholas Hoult) was a member of at Oxford along with C.S. Lewis. The movie is actually about another club, the T.C.B.S. (Tea Club and Barrovian Society), where he pledged with his college friends Rob (Patrick Gibson), Geoffrey (Anthony Boyle) and Christopher (Tom Glynn-Carney) to change the worlds through their art (literature, painting, music and poetry). His writing was greatly influenced by his experiences in World War I, his interest in philology (particularly in creating new languages) and in European mythologies (Norse, Germanic and Finnish), as well as by the love for his wife (Edith Bratt played by Lily Collins).
The movie was not endorsed by the Tolkien Estate (which considered it inaccurate) and received mixed reviews (it was rated 6.8 on IMDb and 50% / 73% on Rotten Tomatoes) but I nevertheless found it quite interesting. The movie is mostly criticized for lacking imagination, but I disagree: it has plenty, but it just requires a little effort from the viewers. While entertaining, it offers great (but subtle) insights on the life of Tolkien and his creation. Whether you’re a fan or not, Tolkien is worth watching.
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