Tolkien

I took myself to watch Tolkien yesterday, the new Biopic of one of my favourite writers. I had been looking forward to it, and whizzed down to the cinema as soon as I could. Now that I’ve seen it, though, I can’t say I was that taken by it. JRR Tolkien was a great writer, philologist and intellectual, no doubt about it; but that does not necessarily make a good subject for a film. I find myself agreeing with the good Dr. Kermode here: the film felt quite pedestrian and dry, without much inherent drama to it. Of course, there was an attempt to dramatise Tolkien’s relationship with Edith and the loss of his friends in world war one, but such stories could also be told about many other men. As Kermode says, had Tolkien not been the writer behind what is now one of the greatest cinematic franchises ever, it’s hard to see this film ever being made. Don’t get me wrong, it was a lovely tribute to a man once deemed ”The creative equivalent of an entire people”; yet rather conservative, religious oxford dons don’t necessarily make the best subjects for cinematic spectacles. Perhaps a second viewing would help, but until then I am not as enthusiastic about this film as I hoped I would be.

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