Trailer for a new biopic about Tolkien

Trailer for a new biopic about Tolkien February 16, 2019

I remain… unconvinced. With the exception of childhood tragedy, World War I, and his romance with Edith, Tolkien just did not live a cinematic life. He spent most of it in a room, grading stuff, or in another room, typing stuff. His actual views of things, most postmoderns would be ignorantly horrified about. He believed the internal combustion engine was the most evil invention of the modern world. He was a hard-assed Catholic who loudly made his responses in Latin because he detested the reform of the Mass. He suffered intensely, but in ways that don’t play well on screen. His patience with things like ecumenism was short, though he had many ecumenical friendships with professional colleagues like the Inklings. He appreciated male friendship back when male friendship was done right and was not just brodude jackasses twittering about the loss of power, sexual conquest, and the threat of women.

His fraught relationship with Lewis could be interesting (Tolkien disliked Charles Williams while Lewis, who had a gigantic capacity for friendship, enjoyed Williams–and all the other Inklings). And their tension over his Catholic faith (Lewis could never get over his Orange origins, though he tried to be as charitable as he could) could be interesting. Tolkien was sometimes exasperated with Lewis (and disliked Narnia). But he described Lewis’ death as an “axe blow to the roots”.

I would like to see the scene where Lewis and Tolkien went to a party–that was not a costume party–dressed as polar bears. I really would like to see that. Also bits where he read The Hobbit to his children, who corrected him about minor discrepancies while he muttered, “Damn the boy!” would be fun.

We’ll see. I’m afraid it will be more hagiography than biopic.

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