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

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Movie Info

As a young student, J.R.R. Tolkien finds love, friendship and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts. Their brotherhood soon strengthens as Tolkien weathers the storm of a tumultuous courtship with Edith Bratt and the outbreak of World War I. These early life experiences later inspire the budding author to write the classic fantasy novels "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings."

Cast & Crew

Nicholas Hoult
J.R.R. Tolkien
Lily Collins
Edith Bratt
Colm Meaney
Father Francis
Derek Jacobi
Professor Wright
Anthony Boyle
Geoffrey Smith
Patrick Gibson
Robert Gilson
Tom Glynn-Carney
Christopher Wiseman
Craig Roberts
Private Sam Hodges
Harry Gilby
J.R.R. Tolkien (Young)
Adam Bregman
Geoffrey Smith (Young)
Albie Marber
Robert Gilson (Young)
Ty Tennant
Christopher Wiseman (Young)
Laura Donnelly
Mabel Tolkien
Pam Ferris
Mrs. Faulkner
David Gleeson
Screenwriter
Lasse Frank
Cinematographer
Harri Ylönen
Film Editor
Thomas Newman
Original Music
Grant Montgomery
Production Design
Pilar Foy
Supervising Art Direction
Paul Cowell
Art Director
Colleen Kelsall
Costume Designer
Kate Ringsell
Casting
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News & Interviews for Tolkien

Critic Reviews for Tolkien

All Critics (197) | Top Critics (50) | Fresh (99) | Rotten (98)

  • Tolkien is innocuous but uninspiring.

    June 21, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Fans of Tolkien's writing probably won't discover anything new about the man from this film and the attempts to turn the Somme battlefield into a sort of fiery Middle Earth look painfully contrived. This is a minor biography of a major writer.

    June 14, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The film looks great, a polished period piece, but the pedigree is ragged... The result is polite, plodding and unconvincing, like most movies about famous writers.

    June 12, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • "Tolkien" doesn't seem all that interested in providing any kind of entertainment.

    May 14, 2019 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • Tolkien is on a journey, and while the film may deprive us of an arrival, it does give us a rather exhilarating travel itinerary.

    May 13, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Tolkien may have been the most important modern fantasy author but the movie bearing his name won't stand the test of time.

    May 12, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | 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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