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hopscotchee: lily collins score: 53.5 rating: pg-13 time: 112 minutes

you've gone through batch one with us, you're making your way through batch two, and by now you get the point...we love film!! but now you're at that special point where we should tell you, we really love film!! dating back to the 7th grade to be exact, every single night of those regrettably memorable middle school times, we spent our evenings solely adoring and re-watching one movie and one movie only: lord of the rings: the fellowship of the ring based off the trilogy from the talented tolkien!! - which, funny enough, fast forward them years, and what do you know!? it just so happens that the next movie in our hopscotch is about the man himself? irony? eh, more like insistent endearment - but regardless, selecting this film to be a part of batch two of our hopscotch, knowing how whimsical and extraordinary tolkien's stories and fantastical worlds were to our past film-obsessed selves, was refreshingly sentimental and humble to see the incredible author's own story come to life.

to that, if you've ever tried to sit down and read one of tolkien's stories, you've probably realized the deep appreciation for imagination that he had, which results in either a) you instantly gripping to the pages or b) finding another, more above-the-surface book to read. however, unfortunately, by attempting an identical appeal, the film's similarly layered storyline presented a lacking focal point rather than a thick plot like the novels possess. evidently, coming across more all over the place, the jumbled script and sporadic editing took away from tolkien's reality and emotional connection between his colleagues and the rest of the characters in the film. for such an example, some of the editing was oddly floating about, especially certain cuts from the war scenes in between montages of the past, which filled the movie with incoherent interruptions due to the lack of dialogue or purposefulness to the battle sequences and made it difficult for the movie to tie together tolkien's whole life from (spoiler) when he was simply a boy growing up in a boarding school to when he was a sneaky adolescent crushing on edith bratt, a student working diligently on his scholarly studies, and eventually a young man being drafted to war all in barely an hour and a half!!

but as much to our complaint about the story not being as expectation-meeting as the abundance of the author's legacy-leading writing career, the film had quite an eyebrow-raising amount of impressive shot comp and cinematography to take note on from a beautiful variety of warm, yellowish-brown, friendly hues that captured the flashbacks and contrasting gritty, blue color schemes that depicted the harsh war atmosphere. but even more than the also appreciative delicate night and day lighting, the gracious twists and turns of the camera helpfully coincided with tolkien's lucid childhood memories.

however, the biggest flex in the film was easily the set design. it's what we like to say 'props to the props'. from the luscious rugby field, exquisitely grand library, and vast, grotesque battle field, the descriptiveness of detail, familiarity, or bitterness was not only greatly interpreted and encapsulated tolkien's own world, but equally drew its viewers inward to the visual story with the skillful excess of proper sets.

wrapping things up, it is honest to say that if this movie came out at the same time, we're not sure if tolkien would be the one movie we re-watched every single night throughout our entire 7th grade school year. but, it does deserves a flattering tribute as one of the movies that had to withstand the bitter box-office week of the long and behold 'lock-down' phase of the pandemic. unfortunately to say, with that, as much as tolkien's magical and mystical stories will never be forgotten as one of the most incredible collections in literature and cinema history, his own movie probably won't receive the same amount of memorable recognition as tolkien, himself, is and should be credited for.

-- thanks, lily xo

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