THE TREASURE OF TOLKIEN
Biopic. To some, that word is meat and drink. To others, it’s a dusty cupboard. Now forget everything you know about movies that bring the dead back to life, the dates, the facts, the frayed strings of events, the harrowing trials that go before success. Dispense with this dreary whack at lives gone by; now go see TOLKIEN.
Director Dome Karukoski has done a masterful job of bringing David Gleeson’s and Stephen Beresford’s script to the screen, lighting a portal into a mind that’s charmed, captivated, and beguiled generations. Now we can know J.R.R. Tolkien intimately, and feel for ourselves the fires in which his genius was forged. Karukoski knows everything about Tolkien; he’s read every book by him, and all the biographies and papers about the great author. The movie could have emerged a leaden pedant’s dross, but Karukoski distilled it all, performed alchemy really, and made a golden filigree for our delight. Fox Searchlight and Legion M know a good thing when they see it, but TOLKIEN is destined to become an international treasure.
TOLKIEN the movie is lavish, its scenery from college to battlefield is a Rembrandt in the greens and grays of cloistered ivy, to the browns of blood-washed trenches and the thick mud of a No Man’s Land strewn with the bodies of dear friends. You will see what Tolkien saw. You already know how he took these mangled scraps and girders of rusting iron hardship and built gleaming epics for the rest of us; in the end we see it was love that helped Tolkien drain the crucible of wartime horrors to temper a bond of fellowship. And then Tolkien let us join the questing troop, promising never to desert us until we come at last to the ending of all things.
Nicholas Hoult is a long-suffering orphan Tolkien, an Englishman of the lower tier, yet bearing the sterling character of a humble king. Lily Collins makes an Edith we can understand, a muse whose brilliance of spirit is hidden from all save one, Tolkien. Together they fling off enchantments that have long bound them in dreariness; they create lives for themselves, and worlds for the rest of us.
There is the rich cast of friends, of course, fellow travelers in music, letters, and fine art who help Tolkien assay and refine his work while he makes them recognize their own talents. Together, they hoped to change the world through art. When you see TOLKIEN, you will be reminded in the most elegant way that they did.
Get your tickets to see TOLKIEN this weekend!
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