Cert 12A 112mins Stars 2
Reeking of radioactive levels of unthinking snobbery, this dreary account of the early life of the acclaimed author of The Hobbit fatally overestimates the appeal of being cooped up for two hours with self-regarding and over-privileged public school boys.
Nicholas Hoult is sincere as J.R.R. Tolkien, Lily Collins is a bright spark as his sweetheart and Derek Jacobi’s professor is fun, but there’s nothing to learn and it lacks the epic grandeur of Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings trilogy.
Despite being orphaned and enduring the horrors of the First World War frontline, the film paints Tolkien’s earliest darkest hour as briefly having to slum it among the working classes of Birmingham.
He’s rescued by Colm Meaney’s kindly priest and sent to a posh establishment where he enjoys the fellowship of a semi-secret club who quaff champagne, mock waitresses and are as sympathetic as UK MP Boris Johnson’s Bullingdon Club.
Tolkien’s family have disowned the film and I don’t blame them.