Renowned author, Christian apologist, and Oxford medieval scholar C.S. Lewis agrees to marry the divorced American poet Joy Davidman Gresham, to allow her and her two sons to stay in England. But what began as an act of charity by the confirmed bachelor becomes a deep and abiding love and they marry again, "before God." Alas, Joy becomes gravely ill... Written by
Why am I so afraid? I never knew her love could hurt so much, and I love you and all I want is to love you. Beyond every door I hear your voice saying to me, 'This is only the land of shadows. Real life hasn't begun yet.'
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The 1990s film with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger is rightly showered with praise, and I enjoyed it very much, but this TV original is just as good, and in some ways, more appropriately cast. Claire Bloom isn't a brash Joy, but she is still confident and throwing her cap at her favourite author (played by Joss Ackland in one of his best performances).
Quieter, calmer, and less emotional than the Attenborough film this may be, but it does justice to what is a marvellous play full of meaningful dialogue. You'll still cry to this version, but perhaps you won't have the musical prompts to set you off.
There's room for both - and having seen this on stage, I would say that the Ackland/Bloom one is slightly more faithful. But they're both excellent.
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