Tag: WWI

Tolkien (Movie 2019)

Tolkien_film_promotional_poster3 Stars

I had high hopes seeing this movie about the famous author but came away somewhat disappointed in the outcome. It has its good parts, drawn out boring parts, undeniable heartfelt parts, but also horrific parts. It focuses on the young life of Tolkien from boyhood to young adult, ending with the time he wrote Hobbit.

The movie, I think, makes the mistake of too many flashbacks from the present to past, leaving you dizzy in the changes. It begins with Tolkien in the trenches suffering from trench fever, desperately attempting to find a friend (one of the three he has a “fellowship” with from boyhood) serving during WWI.  What he sees around him are the hallucinations of his mind, that often correspond to his future stories – fire breathing dragons, death riding a horse, spirits of black whirling over the dead carnage. The scenes from the trenches are horrific to say the least, with pools of blood and dead young men strewn across the battlefield. If the director wanted to make the point of the horrors of WWI, he did so to the point I moaned at many of the scenes.

After his mother’s untimely death, his priest arranges for him and his brother to be fostered by an elderly lady. He is sent to school but at first has trouble making friends. Eventually, he becomes part of a group of boys, who grow into manhood, that consist of three other creative minds – writer, artist, composer. They form a bonded fellowship, out to change the world.  There are many scenes of his boyhood and young adult life to university with his friends.

The movie ends years after the war and the aftermath it had on the four men.  Not all return home. Tolkien is married to his childhood sweetheart, now with children, and mulling over fantasy stories in his head, beginning to write his famous works.

I wasn’t overly impressed with the movie, although it was interesting to see the beginning life of a literary genius.  Nicolas Hoult did a fine job portraying Tolkien (that’s pronounced Tol-keen) by the way.  If you admire his books and stories, you’ll enjoy the movie nevertheless.

 

Testament of Youth (Movie 2014)

5 Kernels

Stars:  Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Taron Egerton

Let me be very clear.  This is NOT a happy movie.  If you are looking for an uplifting story, keep looking.  This is a movie about the reality of war.  It’s a deeply moving movie that frankly, if you have any heart at all, will rip your emotions to shreds.

Those of us who have not experienced the horrors or the loss of love ones in wars might come away unmoved or bored by this flick.  However, when I recently read this week that many young English citizens know very little about the World War I, it becomes a sad testament to today’s youth.  We should remind ourselves of the horrors of war as a deterrent, however, humanity has never taken the message seriously so frankly I think we’ve learned nothing.

Clearly the attitudes of the youths in the early 20th century compared to those in the 21st century are vastly different.  As they left for the fields of France or wherever they served, they certainly had no comprehension of what they would face in the trenches.  Seventeen million people perished in this war, and it’s not just the brave men who fought.  It’s a sad commentary that the best of youth died, as this movie dramatically shows.  What becomes of those who were left behind such as lovers, wives, mothers, fathers, and friends, is no less devastating as unbearable grief results.

I have distant English cousins who perished in the great war. One young man died in Turkey and the other in Belgium. Watching this movie brings to mind their sacrifice and the sorrow my ancestors must have felt when that terrible news arrived of their deaths.

Perhaps the movie itself is not the Oscar-type, but it is the reality type.  It’s well acted, though may be somewhat slow as the story progresses into the war.  If you don’t like to watch the horror of broken bodies, blood, death, and suffering, then you may find some scenes difficult.

If anything, this movie is indeed a testament of youth, loyalty, bravery, and a will to continue living so that the memory of those who died continues to live as well.

May we never forget.

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