The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis Parent Guide
This film is a fine vehicle for the writings of C.S. Lewis and an effective way to feature popular quotes but it isn't much of a drama.
Parent Movie Review
“I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed; perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”
These words are the heart of The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis. The account of Lewis’s conversion from atheism to Christianity is far from untold, but here it is set out on film, in the subject’s own words.
Few laypeople have ever had the kind of influence the late Clive Staples (Jack) Lewis continues to wield in the Christian world. The Narnia fantasy series he penned for children became a global bestseller that continues to enchant young readers to this day. His wry, clever Screwtape books, featuring letters from a senior to a junior devil, still give readers a shock of recognition. And his memoirs and books of Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity and Surprised by Joy remain standard reading for fellow believers around the world.
It’s the latter books that provide much of the screenplay for this movie, often being quoted whole cloth in the script. Adapted from a stage play, the movie features an elderly Lewis (Max McLean) reminiscing about his life as he walks through scenes of his childhood and early adulthood. Images of his early life aside, this is no standard biopic: it’s really a spiritual biography, tracking Lewis’s journey from atheist to reluctant theist to even more unwilling Christian.
The movie’s frame structure works well in giving McLean lots of opportunity to share Lewis’s perspective and highlight well known quotes by the famous author. What it fails to do is provide any sense of drama. The actors playing Lewis do little besides wander about in Ireland or Oxford as McLean talks, making it difficult to develop any sense of dramatic tension. What the movie feels like is a documentary with nicely detailed re-enactments. If you look at this production as a documentary, then it’s a success. If you judge it as a dramatic film, it’s pretty thin gruel.
In addition to little drama, the movie also has minimal negative content, aside from occasional scenes of social drinking and smoking. It’s harmless for older kids and tweens – but chances are they will get bored as soon as Lewis starts discussing philosophy and theology. More mature viewers, particularly if they are familiar with Lewis’s work, will enjoy this view into his developing faith. Fans of Lewis will get a kick out of identifying their favorite quotes and Christian viewers will appreciate hearing their convictions articulated with Lewis’s usual incisive clarity.
This isn’t the sort of film that will have general audiences rushing to the theaters, and, frankly, that’s not a bad thing. It feels like it was made for TV and will be just as interesting at home – and if you watch it from the comfort of your couch, your sense of Christian charity won’t be tested by the annoying guy in the row behind you who keeps dropping his popcorn.Directed by Norman Stone. Starring Max McLean, Nicholas Ralph, Eddie Ray Martin, Tom Glenister, Charlie Ray Reid. Running time: 85 minutes. Theatrical release November 3, 2021. Updated November 4, 2021
Watch the trailer for The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis
The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis rated Not Rated? The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: A woman is seen suffering from cancer; her death is later mentioned. There is discussion of war on the Western front. There is a scene of soldiers being shot at with artillery fire in the background. A man is shown in hospital recovering from injuries. There’s mention of a person with religious mania screaming in terror at the prospect of hell. There is brief mention of the occult.
Sexual Content: A man reminisces about lusting after a woman when he was young: there is no explicit detail.
Profanity: A single minor profanity is used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Main characters drink alcohol with meals and in the pub. A main character holds cigarettes and puts an unlit one in his mouth. There’s mention of morphia being used in a medical context.
Page last updated November 4, 2021
The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis Parents' Guide
What were the steps that led to C.S. Lewis’s conversion? Which do you think are the most persuasive? Do you agree with his reasoning? Do you have religious beliefs? How did you come to accept them? Have you had discussions with people who have different beliefs? What did you learn from those conversations?
Related home video titles:
For a film about C.S. Lewis’s later life and his marriage, you can watch Shadowlands.
Lewis wrote fantasy books for children, some of which have been adapted for the big screen. They are, in order, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis’s friend and fellow fantasy author, stars in a biopic simply entitled Tolkien.