Dome Karukoski’s Tolkien is full of vibrant imagery and creative cinematography which help draw the audience into a tale about a fascinating man. What I wasn’t expecting is how it would reshape my thoughts about the world fellowship. For many of us, that word means companionship or a common interest. J.R.R. Tolkien saw it as being much more than being in someone’s general vicinity. Tolkien shows us how a fellowship can encompass many things ranging from brotherhood to changing the world, and of course love. This revelation was something that he came upon overnight; it took a collection of life experience (some of which were woven with a tragic thread) for him to see this.
Nicholas Hoult and Lilly Collins each are lovely in their respective roles. At first, they are two teens living in a foster home, but that evolves rather rapidly into something so much more. Collins plays Edith who plays a pivotal role in shaping the man Tolkien becomes. Up until then, it was nothing but books and a world rife with fantasy. She quickly becomes his everything. Not even his fellow members of the TCBS could fill the void that he feels when she’s not around.
Lasse Frank Johannessen’s cinematography was simply delicious as it consistently captured the beauty of their surroundings. I especially loved how anytime they were out in the woods or at a park; we were treated just a subtle turn of the lens capturing their locale. David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford did an excellent job weaving a thread many of Tolkien’s life experiences so that they could show how it influenced his later works. My biggest concern was that somehow the film would be just full of polka dots and moonbeams and not nearly reflective enough of his reality. Thomas Newman’s score set the perfect tone reflecting how at times he was very tortured (as he constantly dealt with the grief of losing his parents and most of his friends in World War 1).
Overall, I felt the film was strong, but I am worried it will get lost in the shuffle due to its release date.