Critics Consensus

Thanks to brilliant performances from Debra Winger and especially Anthony Hopkins, Shadowlands is a deeply moving portrait of British scholar C.S. Lewis's romance with American poet Joy Gresham.



Total Count: 30
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Movie Info

This lavishly mounted adaptation of the play by William Nicholson tells the true story of the doomed love affair between novelist and noted Christian scholar C.S. Lewis and a Jewish-American poet. Anthony Hopkins stars as C.S. "Jack" Lewis, an Oxford professor and successful author of the Chronicles of Narnia series of children's fantasy novels. A confirmed bachelor, Jack's existence is an inward life of the mind. Somewhat detached from the world, his only social outlet is evenings out at a local pub discussing philosophy and religion with his fellow lecturers. Jack has been corresponding with a bluntly intelligent American woman, Joy Gresham (Debra Winger), who arrives to visit him, with her young son Douglas (Joseph Mazzello) in tow. She tells Jack that she has actually fled from an abusive marriage and plans to divorce, and Jack astonishes friends and family by agreeing to a platonic marriage with Joy so that she can obtain British citizenship. As their friendship deepens and Joy discovers that she has a terminal illness, the relationship between Joy and Jack becomes a genuine romance, and their marriage turns into a real commitment. Shadowlands (1993) had previously been filmed as a well-regarded British television movie in 1985 starring Joss Ackland as Lewis.

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Anthony Hopkins
as C.S. Lewis
Debra Winger
as Joy Gresham
Edward Hardwicke
as Warnie Lewis
Joseph Mazzello
as Douglas Gresham
Michael Denison
as Harrington
John Wood
as Christopher Riley
Peter Firth
as Dr. Craig
Robert Flemyng
as Claude Bird
Gerald Sim
as Superintendent Registrar
Julian Firth
as Father John Fisher
Julian Fellowes
as Desmond Arding
Roddy Maude-Roxby
as Arnold Dopliss
Andrew Seear
as Bob Chafer
Tim McMullan
as Nick Farrell
Andrew Hawkins
as Rupert Parrish
Peter Howell
as College President
James Frain
as Peter Whistler
Scott Handy
as Standish
Walter Sparrow
as Fred Paxford
Roger Ashton-Griffiths
as Dr. Eddie Monk
Pat Keen
as Mrs. Young
Carol Passmore
as Woman in Tea Room
Howard Lew Lewis
as Tea Room Waiter
John Quentin
as Station Acquaintance
Alan Talbot
as College Porter
Heather Mansell
as President's Wife
Leigh Burton-Gill
as Mrs. Parrish
Cameron Burton-Gill
as Parrish Child
Chandler Burton-Gill
as Parrish Child
Kendall Burton-Gill
as Parrish Child
Christina Burton-Gill
as Parrish Child
Sylvia Barter
as Woman in Bookshop
James Watt
as Boy in Bookshop
Pauline Melville
as Committee Chairwoman
Sophie Stanton
as Lecture Committee
Ysobel Gonzalez
as Lecture Committee
Ninka Scott
as Lecture Committee
Terry Rowley
as Registrar
Norman Bird
as Taxi Driver
Abigail Harrison
as Staff Nurse
Karen Lewis
as Hotel Receptionist
Matthew Delamere
as Simon Chadwick
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Critic Reviews for Shadowlands

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (7)

  • Biting down on his pipe, his shirt collar permanently askew, Hopkins assays another concerted study in English repression -- a condition unexpectedly relieved by Winger's brash intelligence and brittle wit.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Superlative acting by Hopkins and Winger elevates this fictionalized late-in-life romance between the repressed British scholar and writer C.S. Lewis and the American Jewish housewife-poet who introduces him to sex and rejuvenates his life.

    Nov 30, 2005 | Rating: 4/5

    Emanuel Levy

    Top Critic
  • Here is Mr. Hopkins giving an amazingly versatile and moving performance, shifting the light in those knowing blue eyes to reveal endless shadings between delight and sorrow.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/4
  • It understands that not everyone falls into love through the avenue of physical desire; that for some, the lust may be for another's mind, for inner beauty.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Shadowlands is illuminated from beginning to end by Hopkins. This may be the best thing he's ever done.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • A high-class tear-jerker about the romance of repressed British writer C.S. Lewis with feisty American poet Joy Gresham.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

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