Shadowlands

While most people know C.S. Lewis as the author of the Chronicles of Narnia, he was also well known for many other things. He was a popular Christian apologist and a medieval literature scholar at Cambridge. For most of his life, he was also a bachelor, living with his brother Warnie at their home “The Kilns” in England. Late in his life, however, he met an American divorcee named Joy Gresham who was to change his life entirely. The story of their unlikely and late blossoming love, and Lewis’ grief over Joy’s untimely death, are told in the 1993 film Shadowlands.

Directed by Richard Attenborough; the film stars Anthony Hopkins as scholarly C.S. “Jack” Lewis, and Debra Winger as the zestful Joy Gresham. The screenplay was written by William Nicholson who based the screenplay on an earlier 1985 television film he produced, and also a stage play he wrote based on the story.

The film is moving for how it portrays the way that grief shaped Lewis’ faith life, though this final version does not probe that angle as deeply as some of the earlier adaptations. The love story is not at all typical, given the fact that the main characters are middle-aged and their love grows slowly from friendship and admiration. Lewis originally marries Joy so she can stay in the country, but ends up falling in love with the outspoken American who turns his world upside down.

Edward Hardwicke plays Lewis’ brother Warnie, and Joseph Mazzello portrays Douglas Gresham, Joy’s young son whom Lewis takes into his heart and home.

The film was awarded a BAFTA Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film. Hopkins also took a BAFTA for Best Actor. Debra Winger was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, and Nicholson was also given an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. The film was shot on location in England and contains some beautiful landscapes.

PG
| 1993 | 2 hr 11 min | 7.4/10
Cast
Studio
Director
Richard Attenborough
Language
English
Shadowlands
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