A bit rushed and not totally engaging but does a good job of condensing Lewis into an hour
From the comfort of his rocking chair in front of a good fire while a cold snap settles in outside, CS Lewis recalls his own story a story equally as interesting as anything he has written. Starting out with his childhood in Belfast and his love affair with stories and books, Lewis weaves in his relationship with God and the loss of his mother early on. His story jumps through his education to his adult life, the creation of Narnia and his love of an American called Joy.
Starting with Lewis as a boy and ending with him close to the time of his death, 60 minutes was always going to be a push to do a job on his story. Although the time and the approach has built in weaknesses to the telling, generally it works pretty well. The narration is an obvious tool to use to condense a narrative without losing the links between scenes (even if they often jump years) but it works and provides a thread to follow for the duration. It naturally does prevent depth in the scripting but the strength of Rodgers' performance covers it up by supplying enough emotion to isolated scenes to hook me in the character. He can't stop the film feeling rushed and very squashed up on itself but he does enough to make individual scenes work well and keep the film flowing. The support cast aren't quite as good but nobody is bad and standard is mostly Rodgers' to set.
The material is occasionally weak and some parts of it don't convince. I'm not sure if it is Rodgers or the script but the film places God into two clear sections and didn't flow with either of them. Rodgers tries hard to make it work but it just doesn't sound right when he says it. Generally though the film summarises things well and provided a good background to Lewis as a person. Those with more knowledge of him will not be that taken in mainly because of the rushed sweep it has but it served me well as an introduction to the man who is currently in favour again thanks to the film version of his book.
The narration may be an obvious tool but Rodgers makes it work well and although the direction is simple, it is suitable for the TV presentation. Worth a look if your first contact with Lewis has been the recent film but just be prepared for the weaknesses that come with the positives.
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