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Still shot from the movie: Shadowlands.

Shadowlands

Anthony Hopkins plays C.S. Lewis in this movie based on the renowned author's life. Best known for his Chronicles of Narnia children's stories, the writer is perfectly happy being a quiet Oxford professor, until he meets an American woman (Debra Winger) with whom he has exchanged letters --and quite unexpectedly, finds himself falling in love with his pen pal. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: A --
Violence: A
Sexual Content: A
Language: A
Drugs/Alcohol: --
Theater Release: 13 Jan 1994
Video Release: 12 Apr 1999
MPAA Rating: PG
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From the grades you can see that this movie reaches my idea of perfection, and in some areas exceeds. The best stories are true, and this one upholds that fact. Anthony Hopkins plays C.S. Lewis, the renowned author of children's stories. The era is the 1950's, and Lewis is perfectly happy being an Oxford professor, living with his brother, and sitting in front of the fire listening to classics on the BBC radio service. Then he accidentally falls in love.

Even Lewis cannot figure out what has happened to himself, as he becomes attached to a lady poet from America. Finally, she asks for a marriage of "convenience" so that she may stay in England. He can handle that. It's only a formality. But he still cannot really figure out his feelings, until she is diagnosed with cancer.

Shadowlands offers pieces of life in small, easy to digest nuggets, and as I read what other critics have to say about this wonderful film, I realize that Shadowlands holds different treasures for each of us. "When you pray, you don't change God, you change," muses Lewis. Joy, played by Debra Winger, offers the idea that we can derive more joy from our lives through our pain. Finding joy in pain is just what this movie does. Lewis led a life without risks, without pain, and without joy. His mother died at an early age, and he never wanted to extend himself to someone again. In admitting his love for Joy, he takes the biggest risk of his life.

This is a romance for adults, although mature teens may also find it interesting. The younger set will be bored to death, so the best way to watch this classic is after they are in bed. This is a movie that demands your attention, and is worth every frame. I have but a handful of films that I love enough to own. It's time to make room for one more on the shelf.

Shadowlands is rated PG:

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger
Studio: HBO Home Video

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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