On Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 8:35:19 PM UTC-5, Bill O'Meally
I did not care for the movie.
<re-arranging>If I did not know Tolkien and his works, I would have been
confused about a lot of the sequences where dragons, fire demons
and black horsemen appear on the battlefield.
<snip>I would have thought that Tolkien had lost his mind in the battle
of the Somme, jumping out of of a trench wrapped in a blanket,
screaming after fellow TCBS companion Geoffrey. I would have
thought there was a romantic attraction for the two.
In terms of the battlefield stuff, anyone coming to a biographical
film on Tolkien who doesn't get the battlefield dragon and all
that...well it'd be shocking to have anyone in the theater who
doesn't have at least a passing knowledge of what Tolkien wrote
So I doubt anyone would be confused by that.
That goes for the other scenes from the battle of the Somne: they<snip>
depict Tolkien as suffering from trench fever,
I think they did a good job at depicting a fevered mind suffering
from among things than the fever itself including a pretty serious
case of combat-induced PTSD.
I would have thought, though raised by a priest, Tolkien was not
I do agree that the film stayed away from all questions of
religion and faith..not just Tolkien, but throughout. After seeing
the film, I read that the director had actually crafted and filmed
scenes attempting to depict Tolkien's faith, but test audiences
did not respond well to them, so they were cut.
I would have thought he was an officer over one, and only one
soldier whose sole responsibility was to seek the location of
They depicted an officer's batman; as 2nd LT Tolkien would have a
batman, a soldier assigned to him as personal servant. John Garth
covers this in his book on Tolkien and the Great War;
So I would disagree that the film gives the impression that
Tolkien commanded a single soldier: we see instead his batman. Of
course, not everyone is going to know that...but does every
historical movie need to discuss every detail for the audience?
<snip>There were no sequences showing the hours he was putting into his
early legendarium, and the very first thing he ever wrote was "In
a hole in the ground..."
They did not tie Edith dancing in the field to the Luthien
legend. In fact, there was NO mention of Luthien & Beren, or the
Valar, or the Elves, or the Lamps, or the Two Trees.... And at
the end, they mention only that on their headstone were the names
of two lovers from his mythology.
So much promise, so much material to work with, and such a
You have valid criticisms here. Some of them the film makers
couldn't help because of copyright issues and lacking permission
from the Estate, they could not mention Luthien, Beren, any of his
works and so on. The extant of that I do not know, but given in
the final scene with what he writes on the paper lacking the word
"hobbit" it seems fairly safe to say that that legal stricture
explains the lack of references to his writings and legendarium.
It isn't perfect, but I enjoyed it, thought the cinematography was
Certainly as someone knowing a bit about Tolkien, I, and the crowd
of Tolkienistas I was able to see it with, was able to pick out
where they were adapting material from Carpenter's Bio, the
Letters, and from certain Tolkien scholars. That was actually a
No, they didn't ruin it.
Yes, there is much to quibble about (far less to quibble about
than a certain film maker's travesties), and some enjoy the
quibbling. But it is a good film, enjoyable, and worth seeing
whether on the big screen or wait until picked up by a streaming
It's good: not great, not revealing new insights, esp to those who
know stuff about Tolkien like people in this group, but not
"ruined" or even bad either. It is meant it seems to me as a labor
of love more than anything else, to pay some homage to the
development of Tolkien's life and literary output.
I remember from the credits that there were 3 or 4 consultants of
name. Two I do remember are John Garth, Tolkien and the Great War,
and Andy Orchard,
I general, I think that way too much is made of Tolkien's faith and
it's impact on his /work/ (as opposed to the impact on other aspects
of his life), so the absence of his faith in the film did not bother
me all that much (in some ways it was a relief), though it was, of
course, a biographical fallacy.
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