Friday, August 1, 2008

Shadowlands

This month's feature film is Shadowlands, the true story of C.S. Lewis and his fight to make sense of grief, loss, and suffering. Most of us know Lewis as the author of such books as Mere Christianity and The Chronicles of Narnia. But few know his struggle to open his heart to true love and real intimacy. Shadowlands surrounds the story of his marriage late in life to Joy Gresham, a woman who encourages him to love after being emotionally shut down for decades following the death of his mother.

STATS
Year: 1993 (Rated PG)
Richard Attenborough (director), William Nicholson (screenplay)
Starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.
Setting: England, 1950's.

Two Oscar nominations, including Best Actress (Winger) and Best Screenplay (Nicholson).

Content warning: None that I can see, however, the story is a real weeper and will touch your heart if you are someone who has ever experienced the fear of loving again after losing a loved one. Also, do not expect an overt gospel message in the film. Although there is only little mention of God, Christians will appreciate it nonetheless.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. The sin of pride. We often think pride is merely thinking highly of oneself. But pride also manifests itself in fear: we care about our own hearts and do everything to protect our own hearts from pain, often at the expense of withholding the very lives Jesus commanded us to give away.

2. Suffering yields fruit. God is close to us in our grief and pain. He does not want us to shut ourselves off from enjoying love, for fear of one day losing it.

3. Images of masculinity which lead to the erroneous belief that men should not cry or deal with their feelings.

4. Unconditional love. Joy Gresham displays many characteristics that were considered unbecoming to Jack's (C.S. Lewis) Oxford colleagues, yet he loved her in spite of any perceived uncouth behaviors she may have exhibited.

5. The need for children to have a strong father in their lives. Young Douglas (Gresham's son) learns more about true fatherhood from C.S. Lewis than his biological father.

6. THE LAST LINES OF THE FILM ARE VERY CONVICTING if God is calling you to tear down any walls you have built around your heart.

TRIVIA
This film is adapted from Nicholson's stage play by the same name and is inspired by Lewis' book, A Grief Observed. The trailer for this film can be viewed by clicking here.

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