The forging of fellowship and the fervent following of philology is the focus of TOLKIEN, the brilliant biopic of the creator of the iconic Lord of the Rings.
Directed by Dome Karukoski, TOLKIEN is written by David Gleesonand Stephen Beresford , and stars Nicholas Hoult as J.R.R. Tolkien with Lily Collins as his once and future wife and muse, Edith.
What could have been a rather pedestrian plod of a picture is given athletic emotional flight by an ensemble of actors that embrace the spirit of fellowship forwarded by the script.
The film follows Tolkien’s chronology from Catholic orphan to college boy and the forming of a ring of friends that enjoy the rigours of university and endure the horrors of war.
The film depicts Tolkien as a man with a formidable intelligence and imagination from early on, but it was his experience in the trenches of the First World War that informed his creation of The Hobbit and subsequent Lord of the Rings.
According to this narrative, his true love Edith was a laud of the Ring, Wagner’s opera cycle, a sweeping creation of myth and legend, magic and heroism that appealed to Tolkien’s scholarly penchant for philology and patriotism.
TOLKIEN is overtly a film about love – romantic, platonic, in all its myriad reflections—family, country, tradition, fidelity and loyalty.
The supporting cast is terrific with Anthony Boyle as Tolkien collegiate Geoffrey Smith a standout amongst more seasoned performers as Genevieve O’Reilly as his mother, Derek Jacobi as a kindly, eccentric Oxford Don and Colm Meaney as a mostly compassionate Catholic priest who becomes Tolkien’s legal guardian.
TOLKIEN also boasts a beautiful score by Thomas Newman, decidedly worthy of a fifteenth Academy Award nomination.
It has to be said that TOLKIEN is probably the philological feelgood film of the moment.