Saturday, May 25, 2019

Tolkien (2019)

I’m never really certain what to expect with a biopic.  I knew that Tolkien was based on the life of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.  Specifically, it was based on his life growing up, before he wrote any books.  It starts with him in battle and flashes back to Tolkien finding his mother dead and becoming a ward of Father Francis.

This is one of those cases where the coming attractions are spot on.  The movie focuses on the things that made Tolkien the writer that he was, such as his close friendships and his involvement in The Great War.  Much of the movie seems to take place when he was in college.  Tolkien wanted to focus on school, although he did have a thing for Edith Bratt.  (Father Francis put emphasis on school, at least until Tolkien reached the age of 21.)

This is probably the kind of movie you might watch for a literature class.  The movie ends as Tolkien is starting with The Hobbit.  I was a little surprised that we didn’t see more of the writing.  There are a lot of references, if you can catch them.  (When walking out of a Wagner play, someone comments that a story about a magic ring shouldn’t take six hours.)

While it seems to be meant for general audiences, I think most people would probably want to skip this one. I’m familiar with Tolkien’s works, as I would imagine most people are.  Even if you haven’t read the books, you’ve seen the movies or some other adaptation.  I’m not sure why, but I thought the focus would be more on the literature.

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