Tolkien Movie Review (2019) – Treat For Fantasy Literati

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The Tolkien Movie Review from a well-known satire writer, who also happens to be a film lover.

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” With this deceptively simple and insignificant line written in 1937 began an epic story that would open doors to a whole new world, culture, ideas, philosophies and a completely new language and expand into a magnum opus that would fascinate millions.

There’s a saying about British literature: There are only two kinds of people in the world who read English literature – those who have read “Lord Of The Rings” and those who haven’t. Though this review isn’t about “Lord Of The Rings” the mention is inevitable.

The movie “Tolkien” is about the author J R R Tolkien from his childhood to the moment when he wrote the iconic line.

Tolkien Movie Review

Everyone who likes fantasy movies should see this movie. Everyone who has seen the two movies “The Lord Of The Rings” and “The Hobbit” must see it. For those who have read the books, “Tolkien” is an absolute cult ritual, not to be missed at any cost.

Tolkien Movie Review

Let’s dispense with the technicalities first: the movie is a stunning visual and aural treat. The cinematography, the soundtrack, the music, all top-notch. The editing, with the seamless stitching of the present and the flashbacks, is nothing short of brilliant. The attention to detail, the production value, the backdrops, the landscapes would make Spielberg happy. The acting is, for lack of a better word, honest and devoted. There are no De Niros, Pacinos or Streeps in this movie so don’t expect acting fireworks. The role-play is sufficiently efficient to actually start identifying and empathizing with the actors in their characters. Nicholas Hoult, Lilly Collins and Genevieve O’Reilly stand out in the acting department.

Tolkien Movie Review


And now the movies itself for the LOTR fans: every other minute of the 1h 50min long you’d just sit up and point to the screen and say to yourself, “Did you see that ?” or “So, this is where it came from !”. Nothing in-your-face, nothing glaringly blatant, but just fleeting images, subtle nuances and hints, words, sentences… all point to any one of more than a thousand and a half pages of the Hobbit and the LOTR saga. The creation, evolution and the development of a new language, the growing of friendship into a powerful bond, the one true love, the pain, the separation, the initial euphoria and the final devastation of war… one of the gut-wrenching images of the movie is the despair and anguish of an old man (Derek Jacobi as Professor Wright, Tolkien’s mentor) watching young boys shout up in jubilation when they hear, “England is going to war !”… again just a few seconds that say a thousand words.


Some may find the movie slow. I found it developing beautifully. In the end when Tolkien pens down the line “In a hole in the ground there lived… a hobbit” in exquisite calligraphy, I almost expected the movie to continue and show the writing of the whole two books.

A writer, translator of French literature, reader, film lover, and admirer of the music and beauty.

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