Fox Searchlight has released a trailer for their upcoming film Tolkien. Starring Nicholas Hoult, the film outlines the early years of Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien and the band of brothers he found before being shipped off to the trenches of the Great War we now call World War I. In those horrifying conditions, Tolkien began to weave a group of tales which would form the First Age of Middle-earth, the history of the world referenced throughout The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He also began composing the Lay of Leithien, a poem about a love affair between a Elf and a mortal Man based on the courtship of his eventual wife Edith (played by Lily Collins in the film.) And for as much as the tale contains the beauty of his one true love, other tales capture the desolation of war; even if Tolkien was disinclined to see analogy or pointed metaphors in his work. Nonetheless, the trailer is more than happy to make certain connections as real experiences shape a writer.
Also, about 40 seconds into the trailer, we see what appears to be a depiction of Fingolfin’s battle with Morgoth; one of the most amazing sequences in the collection of tales Tolkien’s son Christopher published as The Silmarillion. Most of that material was first composed during World War I, so it makes sense that the film would visualize parts of those stories as storytelling is a key element of the trailer and, indeed, Tolkien’s life. The professor would go on to refine those tales he wrote as a young man right up until his death. It will be interesting to see how the film illustrates that aspect of his story.
Tolkien opens on May 10th.