Hoult brings a quiet, romantic intensity to the young Tolkien (pronounced ‘Tolkeen’, who knew?), Lily Collins does a lot with a little as his first love Edith, and the Hobbit horde will gobble up all of the easter-egg references peppered throughout the movie.
As an origin story, Tolkien, has its moments of clarity and emotion. Some of it is oversimplified, even misguided. But the film cares about its subject, and cares about finding ways to portray "things that are good and days that are good to spend."
What Tolkien offers instead is a picturesque, amber-soaked balm for armchair Anglophiles: the manners and mores, the crisp witticisms and stirring, stiff-upper-lip sentiments. These pleasures aren’t negligible. But neither are they a substitute for a genuinely cinematic window into a genius’ mind.
There are moments that catch – a cafe date between Tolkien and his future wife (Lily Collins) is one, and a knockout scene with the mother of his closest friend is another – but for the most part this is stolid film-making that lacks the imagination and creativity of its subject.
A quite nice, though often boring, sometimes puzzling, sometimes touching biopic on the life of J.R.R. Tolkien. It's decent in both quality and acting but there's nothing really there to make it actally worth seeing.
An uninspired bio-pic about JRR Tolkein that provides all the facts in pleasant detail without shedding any light on Tolkein’s genius for creating myths that caught the popular imagination and inspired some brilliant films by director Peter Jackson. So, in this sense, the movie was a total failure. On the other hand, the actors were excellent, especially Nicholas Hytner, who was very likable, if not particularly witty or charming or driven. His Tolkein spent very little time actually writing (consider the hundreds of pages JRRT supposedly generated) or thinking about his characters. He is shown in the trenches during the First World War, but he seemed to have spent almost the entire time in a quiet corner with Trench Fever. It was hard to believe he wrote anything, especially inspired novels. For me, the fault was with the script since the cinematography was beautiful, all the actors were excellent, and the direction told the story pleasantly and efficiently. This film should have been a lot more interesting than it was.
The main problem with this flick is that despite its title it is not about Tolkien at all. This movie takes some actual facts from Tolkien's biography (like his name or name of his wife) and connects them into the new story in the way that this story has nothing in common with the actual Tolkien, his views and writings. When facts of Tolkien's life aren't feet into the movie's narrative it simply ignores them and invents new "facts". You don't have to be Tolkien's scholar or read his complete autobiography to notice this disconnection. It would be enough to read some Tolkien's letters and to be briefly accustomed with Tolkien's life and activities to see that this flick only uses Tolkien's name as a vehicle of propaganda of views and ideas completely alien to the protagonist of the story. So if you want to learn something about Tolkien's life or views you should stay away of this flick as its title is misleading and the story is about someone else - flat and one-demensional character, like all fictional characters in poorly written stories are.
The flick itself, though not about Tolkien, at least could have been interesting in its own fictional narrative. But the movie fails here as well. It is boring and unimaginative, the characters are flat and dull. The movie tells about some triggered emasculated boy, "rebelling against the system", while being separated from the "strong independent woman" (his love) by the "evil priest" (it is quite funny if you actually know that Tolkien was a dedicated Catholic, who, as he wrote to his son, did never regret his decision to "drop" the love-affair until 21 and married Edith only after she converted to Catholicism from Protestantism, moreover, he was a conservative and convinced monarchist who volunteered to participate in the Great War). The storytelling is melodramatic and pretentious to the extent that you should know nothing about actual Tolkien and should really be into the same ideological pattern with the creators of this flick to enjoy this caricature.
Doing a movie about Tolkien and leaving out his Christian faith is like making a documentary about Trump and never mentioning his wealth. An okay movie, but if you think it is anywhere close to accurate than you are an utter fool.