The excellent documentary "Through Joy and Beyond" addresses the life,
career, and religious conversion of author, Christian apologist, and
Medieval and Renaissance scholar C. S. Lewis (1898-1963). It follows Lewis
from his boyhood in Belfast, through his school years, military service in
W.W.I, two professorships, transition from atheist to orthodox Christian,
writing and publishing career, and finally to his happy, though brief,
marriage late in life to Joy Davidman.
Rev. Walter Hooper narrates as the film visits various locations, doing a brilliant job of visually documenting--inside and out--the physical locations where Lewis lived (from the family home in Belfast to The Kilns, where he spent the last decades of his life) and taught (Magdalen College, Oxford and Magdalen College, Cambridge), as well as giving brief glimpses of such legendary places as The Eagle and Child Pub where the Inklings gathered for their famous literary and theological discussions. Hooper's narrative is occasionally somewhat stilted but receives the support of Peter Ustinov, who acts as the voice of Lewis. Ustinov reads, throughout the film, several carefully chosen passages from Lewis' personal letters and autobiography, "Surprised by Joy."
If "Through Joy and Beyond" (produced for TV in 1979) looks and sounds significantly dated, this is no real detraction. Rather, the film stands as a worthy example of biographical documentary long before the days of The Biography Channel. The film will undoubtedly be a memorable experience for any admirer of Lewis who is not already heavily steeped in his personal history.
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