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Tolkien (2019)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, War | 10 May 2019 (USA)
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In 16 theaters near Ashburn VA US [change]

The formative years of the orphaned author J.R.R. Tolkien as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school.

Director:

Dome Karukoski
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicholas Hoult ... J.R.R. Tolkien
Al Bollands Al Bollands ... First Soldier
Kallum Tolkien Kallum Tolkien ... Second Soldier
Craig Roberts ... Private Sam Hodges
Harry Gilby ... J.R.R. Tolkien (Young)
Colm Meaney ... Father Francis
Laura Donnelly ... Mabel Tolkien
Guillermo Bedward ... Hilary Tolkien (Young)
Nia Gwynne ... Bronwen
Pam Ferris ... Mrs. Faulkner
Adrian Schiller ... English Master
Albie Marber Albie Marber ... Robert Gilson (Young)
Ty Tennant ... Christopher Wiseman (Young)n
Adam Bregman Adam Bregman ... Geoffrey Smith (Young)
Tony Nash ... Mackintosh
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Storyline

Tolkien explores the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school. This takes him into the outbreak of World War I, which threatens to tear the "fellowship" apart. All of these experiences would inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-Earth novels. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Life of Love, Courage, and Fellowship

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sequences of war violence | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 May 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tolkien See more »

Filming Locations:

Liverpool, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,200,537, 12 May 2019, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$3,036,739, 16 May 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nicholas Hoult's second outing as a famous author, having previously portrayed J.D. Salinger in Rebel in the Rye (2017). See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The film is aimless...
11 May 2019 | by CubsandCultureSee all my reviews

The film's main problem is it doesn't want to be about what it is about. The film is largely a series of episodes of how various things (events, people, other works etc.) influenced the Middle Earth texts. But the film resists trying to draw 1 to 1 parallels between Tolkien's life and his fictional world.The film goes out of its way to avoid allegory. This is somewhat admirable given Tolkien's famous distaste for allegory but at the same time there's too much of the Middle Earth texts in the film to avoid making the connections. And the film clearly wants you to make those connections. This split aim makes the film have no real narrative drive. I do like how sometimes the narrative unspecified symbolism allows you to read several aspects of Tolkien's mythology into a scene. There was 2-3 times an ambiguous reference to either Sauron or Morgoth.

While the film is in the batting average for historical accuracy for Hollywood it weirdly ignores obvious things to discuss. The film greatly downplays Tolkien's Catholicism to the point where he doesn't seem any more devout than a random guy from that time period. Worse the film spends a lot of time on his courtship with Edith and the film just doesn't use the bit about Tolkien proposing at 12:01 on his 21st birthday. This makes Tolkien a less complex figure for removing his stubbornness.

However much the film's story is lacking I love the direction-cinematography in this film. There is a ton of very provocative and lyrical images that feel more Middle Earth to me than the weaker parts of the Jackson films. The film is handsome and despite the narrative drive being missing it doesn't get bogged down. It plays out like a standard coming of age tale, abet a more artistic one.

With all that being said Hoult's performance is easily the best part of the film and I wish it was in a much better film. I don't think he will ever top R but this a very touching naturalistic take on an icon.


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