Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Cautious biopic about LOTR author has intense war scenes.

Movie PG-13 2019 112 minutes
Tolkien Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 15 parent reviews

age 13+

Unexpectedly good.

I read the other reviews before we went to see the movie, not expecting it to be that good. I found that it was exceptionally good, in my view. It was full of values that should be instilled today. Friendship, devotion, dedication, love, overcoming what life troughs at you. The war scenes were more tame than most of the movies today or games that are played. It was refreshing to be able to sit through a movie and not be blasted with foul language and taking the Lord's name in vain. Even my husband, who is not a Tolkien fan, enjoyed this movie and thought it was excellent!

This title has:

Great messages
2 people found this helpful.
age 16+

poignant time travel

Artistic licence to be sure, but a beautifully imagined film with shades of Chariots of Fire. Slow paced and interwoven timelines, a film recreating an age and author with respect, naivety, wonder and and imagination, more a painting or impression than a narrative. If you are looking for an epic and cynical film with anachronistic 21st century adult themes, you won't find it here.
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (15):
Kids say (11):

Hoult and Collins are likable enough in the centerpiece roles, but this polite, cautious biopic can't compare with the real-life imagination that brought about Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, and the rest. Perhaps screenwriters David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford and director Dome Karukoski took on a little too much material with Tolkien -- the war, the romance, and the friendships -- or focused on the wrong places (the film only marginally explores the actual writing of The Hobbit). The war footage is numbingly typical, with the same rattling explosions and muddy splotches on actors' faces. Maybe less time could have been devoted to that and more to Tolkien's friendships.

The latter certainly seem to have been important to him, but given the long period of time the movie covers, the various actors playing the key roles at different ages, and the limited amount of time viewers spend with them, they never come to life; if anything, they seem rather interchangeable. But the scenes between Tolkien and Edith are often charming, and Collins is given more to do than this kind of biopic love-interest role usually provides; Edith challenges Tolkien and gets him thinking in fresh ways. What's more, she seems to have her own likes, wants, and aspirations. It's too bad the film couldn't have zeroed in on just their relationship. Or perhaps Tolkien's two hours just aren't enough to tell the life story of someone with so much to say.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate