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5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Great movie about a great man. highly recommend this movie. Very enjoyable.Anthony Hopkins did a great job of portraying C.S. Lewis.
Published 15 months ago by Linda Novakovich

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is it about Lewis?
The movie was done well. The cast was magnificent. The scenes of the Oxford Campus were beautiful. The story drew me in. However, it did not present Lewis very well. First, it presents Lewis as being rather naive about suffering. He kept giving the same sermon over and over and implies that did not really understand suffering. This is not so. His mother died when he was...
Published on July 12 2004 by Jeffrey A. Thompson


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is it about Lewis?, July 12 2004
By 
Jeffrey A. Thompson (Iowa City, IA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shadowlands (DVD)
The movie was done well. The cast was magnificent. The scenes of the Oxford Campus were beautiful. The story drew me in. However, it did not present Lewis very well. First, it presents Lewis as being rather naive about suffering. He kept giving the same sermon over and over and implies that did not really understand suffering. This is not so. His mother died when he was very young. He was a soldier in World War 2. His close friend, Charles Williams, died around this period of his life. Second, the movie left the viewer with the impression that Lewis left his simple Christianity and grew into a better understanding of the world. He truly suffered when Joy died as the book, "A Grief Observed" describes beautifully, but he did not leave the faith.
I like the BBC version better. It is closer to the original play.
I recommend the movie, because it well done. However, I do not recommend the movie as a way to learn more about C. S. Lewis. It is a beautiful, fictional love story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars the hollywood-ized version of an interesting love story, April 7 2004
This review is from: Shadowlands (DVD)
When I discovered this movie was being made I was so excited. Unfortunately I spent most of my viewing time thinking, it didn't happen that way and WHERE IS HER OTHER KID?!?
But, if you know absolutely nothing about CS and Joy Lewis' life together and know nothing much about CS and Joy Lewis at all, you will enjoy this movie. It is a well-made, Hollywood love story. The acting is excellent and the storyline is compelling. Just keep in mind that this is NOT how it really happened and PLEASE go read for yourself the true story.
Oh, yeah, don't forget the Kleenex. It's a three box-er.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, April 11 2013
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This review is from: Shadowlands (DVD)
Great movie about a great man. highly recommend this movie. Very enjoyable.Anthony Hopkins did a great job of portraying C.S. Lewis.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TIMELESS, INTENSE ROMANCE WITH LOADS OF OLD-FASHIONED VIRTUE, July 10 2004
By 
Shashank Tripathi (Gadabout) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shadowlands (DVD)
You should certainly see Joss Ackland's version of this film, which was a BBC production and hence true to the original play etc. Come to think of it, you may also want to read the original play itself by Hanff (which is on my wishlist but I have not yet read.)
Nonetheless, the thrilling chemistry between Debra Winger and Anthony Hopkins is very, very hard to resist and I wholeheartedly recommend this supposedly "Hollywood" version. It's ranks for me in the same genre as "The Remains of the Day" and "84 Charing Cross."
To begin with, how immaculate the casting is: Debra Winger plays an uninhibited and witty American poetess, while Anthony Hopkins plays a reclusive British middle-aged scholar at Oxford.
They meet over tea. She is in a withering marriage, but in her bull-in-a-china-shop American fashion, she arrives like a fresh wind to rock his musty ivory-tower existence.
As the film progresses, her crudeness (only exacerbated by Winger's awkward NY accent) is soon peeled away to reveal a heart of gold and a life-affirming sense of humor. For instance, while escorting her around Oxford, Hopkins haughtily says, "I do not really go in for seeing the sights." In response, she says, "So what do you do, walk around with your eyes shut?"
Such sprightly but tender moments evoke the screenplay's stirring underlying message -- pain is an inevitable ingredient of love. If you are looking for a somewhat weepy but always warm and wonderful romantic film, this is one of the best you'll find.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving love story and character study. Attenborough's best, June 29 2011
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shadowlands (DVD)
Immensely moving, with a stunning, complex performance by Anthony
Hopkins, and a very good one by Debra Winger as his slow developing
love.

Yes, it's corny in a few moments, obvious in a few others, but overall
this is a highly intelligent, thoughtful, subtle look at damaged adults
reaching for love and dealing with loss.

By far my favorite of Attenborough's films.

A 'tearjerker', but elevated way beyond that by the writing, direction
and acting, into a profound examination of the way we need love to lift us up,
while that very thing makes us so vulnerable.

Ironically, while this may be the strongest of all Attenborough's films,
with a stellar cast, great reviews, a fascinating main character (The
novelist C.S. Lewis), and powerful universal emotions, it has long been
out of print on North American DVD. It seems almost a forgotten film,
which is everyone's loss.
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5.0 out of 5 stars WARNING:Serious tear jerker, March 26 2004
By 
daye (Ypsilanti, MI USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shadowlands (DVD)
This is the saddest movie I have ever seen. It is also the best "thoughtful chick flick" on the planet. As rabid Inklings fans who happened to be American women we were eager to see our heroine portrayed. After seeing it at the theatre my galpal and I went from the cineplex, weeping so much that we could hardly drive, pulled into a nearby gas station, bought a box of chocolate donuts, cried until we had eaten them. The chocolate sustained us long enough to get home where, for hours, we re hashed the beauty and cruelty of life. A wonderful film especially if you need a good cry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The pain then is part of the happiness now. That's the deal., Feb. 29 2004
By 
Themis-Athena (from somewhere between California and Germany) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shadowlands (DVD)
"I seem to play men who are sort of imprisoned in themselves," Anthony Hopkins comments in an interview included on this movie's DVD. And although this adequately characterizes a mere fraction of his work, roles like that of butler Stevens in Merchant/Ivory's adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's "Remains of the Day," Henry Wilcox in E.M. Forster's "Howards End" (also by Merchant/Ivory) and even Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter, illustrate Hopkins's minimalist approach to acting, which makes him so uniquely qualified to play emotionally restrained men, locked up behind the walls erected by convention, trauma or madness. Thus, while bearing little physical resemblance to the real C.S. Lewis, atheist-turned-Christian scholar and bestselling author of the famous "Narnia Chronicles," Hopkins was a natural choice for the role in this movie about Lewis and his wife-to-be, American poet Joy Gresham (Debra Winger).
Albeit subtitled "based on a true story," "Shadowlands" doesn't purport to recount the couple's relationship in its full complexity - that would take much more than a 2 hours, 15 minutes-long film, if it were accomplishable at all. On equally strong intellectual footing, Joy Gresham and "Jack" Lewis were bound to each other not only by a joint interest in literature and because Joy challenged all assumed bases of Lewis's scholarly life, but also by their personal geneses as convert Christians (he coming from atheism, she from Judaism, at least partly influenced by Lewis's writings). Obviously for reasons of dramatic streamlining, director Richard Attenborough and screenwriter William Nicholson - who adapted his play for the big screen after having already scripted the 1985 BBC production featuring Joss Acklund and Claire Bloom - chose to cut down on several facts and persons, such Joy Gresham's second son David (who is not mentioned at all), Lewis's 1954 move from Oxford's Magdalen College to similarly-named Magdalene College at Cambridge (likewise not included), the alcoholism of Lewis's brother Warren ("Warnie") (which is substantially downplayed, as is the abusiveness of Joy's first husband Bill Gresham) and Lewis's complicated friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien (who surprisingly is not at all among the featured Oxford scholars). Similarly, at least according to some accounts Lewis was not quite the bachelor he is shown to be here, possibly having shared more than tenancy of The Kilns (where he and Warren still lived when he met Joy) with Janie King Moore, 25 years his senior and mother of his college roommate Edward "Paddy" Moore, who died in WWI. With regard to Lewis's and Joy Gresham's relationship itself, the movie espouses the view of some biographers that the couple's April 1956 wedding was merely a marriage of convenience designed to allow Joy to stay in England - and that Lewis only fell in love with her after she had been diagnosed with cancer (although she had evidently been taken with him for a considerably longer time) - but here, too, much remains disputed: inevitably so, as this goes to the very heart of their romance; a romance, moreover, growing in an environment not exactly encouraging to the baring of one's soul to outsiders.
Be that all as it may, however, "Shadowlands" is an emotionally and visually stimulating, tremendously powerful production, centering on the recognition that there are only two ways to deal with love: either to shut it out, thus avoiding pain as much as you're foregoing bliss, or to embrace it, thus also allowing for the sorrow it may bring. As a boy, Lewis chose the former: Unable to cope with his mother's death and reconcile it with the idea of a benevolent God, he chose atheism over religion and, later, a scholar's protected, emotionally unchallenging existence over matrimony; this remaining his choice even after having accepted Christianity, now explaining human suffering as "God's megaphone for shouting at a callous world." Yet, all that was called into question when he met Joy who, with her outspoken nature, progressive views, ex-communist background and New York Jewish upbringing was the most unlikely match conceivable for him; and soon made herself unpopular with his Oxford colleagues, e.g. by pointedly rebuking Christopher Riley's (John Wood's) remark that men have intellect where women have souls (which incidentally could well have come from Lewis himself, who had once explained his refusal to marry by noting that then "all the topics of conversation would be used up in a fortnight"). Yet, what had started with a courtesy meeting over tea with a self-professed admirer soon blossomed into a stimulating intellectual exchange and, based thereon, friendship - although Lewis still clung to the idea that there was nothing more to their relationship. Indeed, just *because* Joy was a woman with whom he could have the intellectual exchange he had heretofore only known with men, he could accept her as a friend while keeping her at an emotional distance ... or so he thought. Only the realization that he would soon be losing her forever (at least, according to this movie's interpretation) cut through his armor. Still, although he believed he had now understood that happiness and pain are inextricably linked in love, his faith was again profoundly shaken by her death, giving birth to of his most personal works, "A Grief Observed."
Magnificently framed by its Oxford University background and featuring a tremendous cast, from the two leads to Edward Hardwicke (Warren Lewis), Joseph Mazzello (Douglas Gresham) and top-tier actors even in minor roles (to name but a few, Julian Fellowes, Michael Denison, Peter Howell, Julian Firth and Peter Firth), "Shadowlands" received Oscar nominations for Debra Winger and William Nicholson's screenplay (Anthony Hopkins was only nominated for "The Remains of the Day"), but in a year that also saw strong competition from "Philadelphia," "Age of Innocence," "Short Cuts" etc., ultimately lost out to "Schindler's List" and "The Piano" (Holly Hunter). Nevertheless, this is a powerful testimony to the love between two truly unusual individuals; one of Oxford-s pre-eminent scholars and the woman who was to him, as he wrote in her epitaph, "the whole world ... reflected in a single mind."
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3.0 out of 5 stars a mediocre cover..., Feb. 13 2004
By 
John K. Holt (USA rural midwest) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shadowlands (DVD)
Despite the top-notch acting, I felt this movie did not approach the quality of the BBC movie, "Surprised By Joy," which preceeded it by several years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What Price Love?, Oct. 15 2003
This review is from: Shadowlands (DVD)
This review refers to the DVD(HBO) edtion of "Shadowlands"...
With every viewing of this touching and true romance, I become more appreciative of what a fine film this is. Had I written a review after the first time I watched it, I probably would have gone 4 stars. The first time around, I really got to know C.S. Lewis and Joy Gresham thanks to the deep and moving performances of Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. After that it was joy spending more time with them, really getting to know their story, and taking in the magnificent work of Director Richard Attenborough and the photography of Roger Pratt.
The story is a bittersweet tale of a mid-life romance that is all to short. C.S. Lewis, the famous writer of children's stories, lives the quiet life of a proper gentleman. He's a professor at Oxford,devout Christian,set in his ways, never married and is repsected by all that know him.When Joy Gresham a divorced, Jewish, Communist, brash New Yorker, with a young son enters his world,things as he knows them are about to change.They develop a friendship and soon she starts to melt the icy wall he has built up around his perfect world. To the shock of all those that know him well, Lewis finally lets his emotions be a part of his life. It is only when Joy becomes terminally ill with cancer, that he realizes the full depth of his love for this woman and her son, and must learn to deal with the pain as well.
I can't think of anyone else who could be C.S. Lewis. Hopkins is a virtuoso. One look at his eyes and we know the depth of his feelings. Winger is an impressive of a match for him as Gresham was for Lewis. She knows how to grab your heart and keep it("Terms of Endearment"). I must also mention the talented young Joseph Mazzello who turns in a remarkable performance as Douglas, Joy's son. William Nicholson has turned his stageplay into a beautiful screenplay, and the music by George Fenton flows with the story.
The DVD is a nice presentation in widescreen, that takes in the splendor of the scenery and sights of England. The tech info here states that the sound is in Dolby Dig 5.1. It is not.(This appears to be the only edtion) The sound is in DD2.0 Surround, and although the dialouge is a little low, the surround sound is very good. Special features include a "Behind the Scenes Featurette" and excerpts of interviews with the stars, the filmmakers and a now grown Douglas Gresham.
The story is a true love story.Five Stars for one that reminds us that to love and to be loved is worth the price of the pain it sometimes brings......enjoy....Laurie
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4.0 out of 5 stars A quiet un-Hollywood tragi-romance, Sept. 18 2003
By 
Govindan Nair (Vienna, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shadowlands (DVD)
I am not sure how faithful this movie is to the original and true story of British author C.S. Lewis' romance to an American divorcee, Joy Gresham. Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger seem well matched to play the contrasting characters of the soft-spoken, shy, and retiring English writer, and the brassy, outspoken American poet. Winger doggedly refuses to let her quiet Oxford don settle into his comfortable emotional cocoon, and the superb casting and acting bring out the multiple emotions of character played by Hopkins from his introspective, affective restraint to deep love as the relationship between the two characters evolve. But this is no Hollywood romance! There are moments toward the end which seem saccharin, but overall this is a well balanced movie.
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