This lavishly mounted adaptation of the play by William Nicholson tells the true story of the doomed love affair between novelist and noted Christian scholar C.S. Lewis and a Jewish-American poet. Anthony Hopkins stars as C.S.… More This lavishly mounted adaptation of the play by William Nicholson tells the true story of the doomed love affair between novelist and noted Christian scholar C.S. Lewis and a Jewish-American poet. Anthony Hopkins stars as C.S. "Jack" Lewis, an Oxford professor and successful author of the Chronicles of Narnia series of children's fantasy novels. A confirmed bachelor, Jack's existence is an inward life of the mind. Somewhat detached from the world, his only social outlet is evenings out at a local pub discussing philosophy and religion with his fellow lecturers. Jack has been corresponding with a bluntly intelligent American woman, Joy Gresham (Debra Winger), who arrives to visit him, with her young son Douglas (Joseph Mazzello) in tow. She tells Jack that she has actually fled from an abusive marriage and plans to divorce, and Jack astonishes friends and family by agreeing to a platonic marriage with Joy so that she can obtain British citizenship. As their friendship deepens and Joy discovers that she has a terminal illness, the relationship between Joy and Jack becomes a genuine romance, and their marriage turns into a real commitment. Shadowlands (1993) had previously been filmed as a well-regarded British television movie in 1985 starring Joss Ackland as Lewis.
Consensus: Thanks to brilliant performances from Debra Winger and especially Anthony Hopkins, Shadowlands is a deeply moving portrait of British scholar C.S. Lewis's romance with American poet Joy Gresham.