One of my favorite movies, partly because it’s about one of my favorite authors, C. S. Lewis. Mr. Lewis was a professor of medieval studies at Oxford University and an avowed atheist. He found Christ at age 32 and became one Christendom’s most celebrated authors. His early life and conversion to Christianity is told in his book, Surprised by Joy. In 1956, late middle age, he did a strange thing. He married Joy Gresham, an American divorcee 17 his junior. She died four years later of cancer. Shadowlands is the story of their life together, the struggle with the disease, and Lewis’ struggle with his faith after his wife died. The story draws from Lewis’ own memoir of this period of his life, A Grief Observed.
The part of Lewis is played by Anthony Hopkins, one of my favorites. It’s unfortunate that out of all his great movie roles he will be most remembered as Hannibal Lecter. Joy Gresham is played by Debra Winger, another favorite. The story is told with tenderness and compassion.
C. S. Lewis was one of the great Christian apologist writers of all time. He had expected to be a life long bachelor. He found the joy of love and marriage unexpectedly late in life. Then it was taken from him. How could God allow this to happen to someone who was serving Him so effectively and so diligently? This movie looks at that but more than that it looks at the the characters as real people, honest people who struggle with that question.
As we all have to at some period in our lives.