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Shadowlands (1993)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 11,955 users  
Reviews: 83 user | 20 critic

C.S. Lewis, a world-renowned Christian theologian, writer and professor, leads a passionless life until he meets a spirited poet from the U.S.

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Title: Shadowlands (1993)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Desmond Arding
Roddy Maude-Roxby ...
Arnold Dopliss
Michael Denison ...
Harry Harrington
Andrew Seear ...
Bob Chafer
Tim McMullan ...
Nick Farrell
...
Christopher Riley
Andrew Hawkins ...
Rupert Parrish
Peter Howell ...
College President
...
...
Robert Flemyng ...
Claude Bird
...
Peter Whistler
...
Frith
...
Lieven
...
Standish
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Storyline

CS Lewis is the author of the Narnia books - The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Known as Jack, he teaches at an Oxford College, during the 1930's. An American fan, Joy Gresham, arrives to meet him for tea in Oxford. It is the beginning of a love affair. Tragically Joy becomes terminally unwell and their lives become complicated. Written by Matthew Stanfield <mattst@cogs.susx.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

oxford | england | friend | love | book | See All (71) »

Taglines:

He thought that magic only existed in books, and then he met her. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 January 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tierra de sombras  »

Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

£3,033,231 (UK) (15 April 1994)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scenes of the traditional Mayday celebrations in Oxford were filmed on the actual night/morning of April 30/ May 1 1993. On Magdalen Tower were the actual choristers of the College chapel but with restricted space due to the minimal crew and camera. Medium shots had been taken of dress-extras in punts on the river and the intention had been to take long-shots of the real-life crowd below. However an unusual thick low mist made much footage unusable, so the dress-extras were recalled a week later, with others to cover Magdalen Bridge. See more »

Goofs

Joy was treated for cancer at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford not in London as shown in the film. See more »

Quotes

Harry: Christopher can scoff, Jack, but I know how hard you've been praying; and now God is answering your prayers.
C. S. Lewis: That's not why I pray, Harry. I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God, it changes me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in BBC Proms: Prom 2: Music from Great British Films (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Once in Royal David's City
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Cecil F. Alexander and music by
Henry J. Gauntlett
Sung at the Christmas service
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

What Shadowlands does, it does very well.
8 September 2004 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Many people seeing this film who are familiar with CS Lewis' writings will be tempted to be disappointed.

They should not be. In defense of this film and the method used to get the results, I have two things to say.

The first, and by far the most important, is that spiritual films are very difficult to make -- especially if one is speaking about something above one's head. That's why the life of Jesus is such a difficult subject and has met with so little success, at least from an artistic point of view.

Even Mel Gibson's Passion suffers from this to some extent. I would say his representation of the Passion reflect more of our times and what we consider to be important than on the ministry of Jesus. I may be wrong; I am not a believer so my opinion may not matter. But what is true is that no matter what your belief, spiritual man (Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and others) are very hard to make biographies of. In my opinion what they represented survived not because we have understanding, but because our instincts tell us they are what we should be. It is not a mind thing at all. AND FILMS REQUIRE OUR MINDS, at least to make them. It would take a soul equal to that of Christ to make a film about Christ.

To a far lesser extent, that is true of CS Lewis. His was a very complex theology dressed in wonderful parables. He had a great understanding of the parables and used the same technique. It does little good to discuss his theology in a film that is about 2 hours long. In fact, the viewer is sort of expected to know something about his writings and theology.

Which brings me to my second point. Perhaps it is because I am over 60 and not been brought up on Romances that I find this one so appealing. Here was a man that had lived his entire life one way, mostly in his mind, when he was confronted with feelings that demanded he reinterpret everything he believed. How many of us at his age could do what CS Lewis did?

Here was a man that thought one way and was forced to live another. What the mind is a very poor substitute for what our emotions understand. CS Lewis was very quick, I think, to recognize this and embraced it completely once he found it out.

Douglas Davidman Gresham (Joy Gresham's son), has said that the film is perhaps not completely factually correct, but the emotion representation is "spot on".

For me, no truer words could be spoken. What does it matter what details are missing, or changed because we have only 2 hours to tell a story? What matters is that we see the humanity of the man and his wonderful ability to embrace openly his new found emotions are what matters. And to put this into his spiritual structure was even more remarkable.

It's a good film. Enjoy it and pay attention. It requires an open heart and an open mind. Give it both.


55 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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