Review-In-A-Flash: “Tolkien”!

Sometimes I’m too drugged up on cold meds to tap out a full piece. Sometimes everything I’ve got to say about a film can be summarized in a few sentences, or stream of consciousness. So herewith, a quick-n-dirty on…Tolkien!

“Lock all this in your heart. Lock it tight, and it will be there forever. I promise.”

Before: Who doesn’t love J.R.R.? People I don’t want anything to do with, TBH. I don’t know much about him, but I do know that he developed his Middle Earth mythos while at school, and that he saw immeasurable horrors during WWI. Can’t wait.

During:  I was absolutely amazed at how director Dome Karukoski blends Tolkien’s school days with Tolkien’s service in WWI. It’s a fluid back-and-forth that kept me involved in the story without feeling the least bit lost. And Tolkien’s “Fellowship” of friends is a lovely group of actors that portray that bond nicely.

It’s interesting to see that J.R.R. was surrounded by creative, imaginative types (his mother, his friends, his future wife) – I can’t help but think that that played a huge role in how he managed to go from ideas in his head to the books we know today.

After: Yes, the Tolkien estate eschews this film. But think of this film as a fantasty biopic, in the same vein as the upcoming Rocketman. It adds in fantasy flourishes to signify important moments. But with Tolkien, 99% of the film’s story is rooted in the author’s actual life. I don’t see the harm in J.R.R. imagining dragons shooting fire as flamethrowers rain down on his men. It makes sense, as the film is supposed to focus on the why and how of his creativity.

Tolkien is a must for fans of the author, with performances that kept me engaged. And I learned a bit about the man himself. Add in some absolutely lovely visuals of his life as a student – and some truly horrifying wartime scenes – and this film is one that I’d revisit. Perhaps not as often as my trips to the Shire, but who wouldn’t choose Middle Earth over ours?

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