MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +4

Content: +3

This deeply moving, true love story of famed Christian scholar, C. S. Lewis, and American writer, Joy Gresham, begins in 1952. A middle aged bachelor, Lewis (Anthony Hopkins) has become the successful author of such classics as "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Screwtape Letters." He has also avoided close personal relationships by devoting his life to teaching literature at Oxford University and writing. One of his fans who writes him regularly is an American writer, Joy Gresham (Debra Winger). When one of her letters announces that she is coming to England and would like to meet him, he is apprehensive but agreeable. She is a much younger woman with a 9-year-old son (Joseph Mazzello), very outspoken and witty. As she and Lewis become friends, it is obvious he is captivated by her. However, he refuses to admit to himself that she could ever be more than a friend. Not until she becomes ill and he realizes he is about to lose her does Lewis declare his love for her. The joy they share over the next few months ultimately outshines the despair of losing her. A professor who only asks questions to which he knows the answers suddenly is confronted with questions that seem to have no answers. SHADOWLANDS will delight audiences hungry for quality adult entertainment.

More than just a love story, SHADOWLANDS examines how taking risks and sharing joy and pain are part of love and commitment. Though C.S. Lewis is not portrayed as egotistical, he does seem too comfortable in his cocoon-like world of books and education. Then he meets Joy Gresham and all his pat theories on life seem to "fly out the window." It is beautiful to watch this humble man blossom as love touches him and opens his heart. He also becomes a more sensitive teacher and devoted step-father to Joy's young son. The story also alludes to the devastating blow which his loss strikes at his faith in God. Suffering from his grief, he declares that men are only rats trapped in God's cruel laboratory. Eventually he resolves his religious conflicts, but the film does not adequately describe this victory. Thus, it misses the opportunity to make a powerful Christian statement about dealing with tragedy.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon and John Evans
Savoy Pictures, 152 W. 57th St., NY, NY 10019

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Exclamatory - Twice

Violence: None

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some social drinking; reference to Lewis' brother as alcoholic

Other: Themes include dealing with grief, faith in God, unconditional love

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Teenagers and adults

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