Tolkien

Critics Consensus

Tolkien has the period trappings and strong performances of a worthy biopic, but lacks the imagination required to truly do its subject justice.

50%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 193

73%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,079
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Movie Info

TOLKIEN explores the formative years of the renowned author's life as he finds friendship, courage and inspiration among a fellow group of writers and artists at school. Their brotherhood strengthens as they grow up and weather love and loss together, including Tolkien's tumultuous courtship of his beloved Edith Bratt, until the outbreak of the First World War which threatens to tear their fellowship apart. All of these experiences would later inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-earth novels.

Cast

Nicholas Hoult
as J.R.R. Tolkien
Lily Collins
as Edith Bratt
Colm Meaney
as Father Francis
Derek Jacobi
as Professor Wright
Tom Glynn-Carney
as Christopher Wiseman
Anthony Boyle
as Geoffrey Smith
Patrick Gibson
as Robert Gilson
Craig Roberts
as Private Sam Hodges
Pam Ferris
as Mrs. Faulkner
Laura Donnelly
as Mabel Tolkien
Harry Gilby
as J.R.R. Tolkien (Young)
Adam Bregman
as Geoffrey Smith (Young)
Albie Marber
as Robert Gilson (Young)
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News & Interviews for Tolkien

Critic Reviews for Tolkien

All Critics (193) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (96) | Rotten (97)

  • Anyone who enjoys watching public school boy 'banter' being thrown around over cups of tea are in for a treat.

    February 6, 2020 | Rating: 5/10 | Full Review…
  • It's a biopic that somehow glosses over things whilst also simultaneously spending too long on them, too.

    January 29, 2020 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Biopics can be better than this; they just have to want to tell us something more than the Cliff's Notes of a life well lived.

    January 18, 2020 | Full Review…

    Sarah Gorr

    The Spool
    Top Critic
  • Tolkien succeeds (in a non-entertaining way) in showing how regular people's lives can inspire great works, but it utterly fails in showing the importance and impact of the work itself, which is why we're actually drawn to the man.

    December 6, 2019 | Full Review…

    Kellen Beck

    Mashable
    Top Critic
  • The strength of this film resides not in its storytelling, but in the performances conveyed by the actors onscreen as well as the visuals that infused magic with reality.

    September 30, 2019 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…
  • It's not terribly interesting. There are more interesting things about Tolkien in this period that [this movie] is not telling.

    September 28, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Tolkien

  • Feb 10, 2020
    Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins lead the cast in the J.R.R. Tolkien biopic Tolkien. The film looks at the formative years of J.R.R. Tolkien's life; growing up in an orphanage and making lasting friendships that would inspire him. Both Hoult and Collins give strong performances, and director Dome Karukoski uses an interesting visual style that makes allusions to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings mythology. Still, the plot is pretty formulaic and doesn't hold that many surprises. Yet despite a few weaknesses, Tolkien is a compelling look at the man behind one on the most influential novels of the twentieth century.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2019
    I'll admit I had some interest when I heard that a Tolkien biopic was in the works, but now that I've actually seen it, I'm very unsure about who was supposed to want this movie? It's just an unbearably clichéd biopic that makes sure it ticks all the boxes a biopic for some reason must. I don't understand how this formula gets forced in to the real-life story of every person who has ever lived a time that was put to screenplay. It's so boring, and it's so done. Who was crying out for a movie that examined famed author J. R. R. Tolkien when he... went from mildly unpopular at fancy pants school, to mildly popular at fancy pants school? Not when he was writing the most famous fantasy series of all time. Not when he was at war (or at least not more than about a cumulative 6 minutes of flashforwards at war). Not his relationship with C. S. Lewis. Not even about going to codebreaking school. Nope, a young Tolkien whose not very likeable and rather lofty for someone who supposedly comes from such a poor background. It does touch on some references to his future writing, adding a little bit of a fantastical element, but it's so afraid of this, its best element, that really only seems to imply that old mate Jirt wouldn't have come up with a single idea for Lord of the Rings unless some sort of external stimulus for it fell in his lap. Another biopic cliché.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer

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