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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than the later film, 31 Jan 2005
By 
Mr. Simon W. Davies "swgdavies" (Southampton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shadowlands [DVD][1985] (DVD)
Much has been made of Nigel Hawthorne's disappointment at being passed over for the role of C.S. Lewis in favour of Anthony Hopkins, having already played it on the stage. However, the actor who has a real right to feel disgruntled is Joss Ackland, who turns in a superb performance in this little film, with strong support from Claire Bloom. Everything about this film is excellent. It was made by the BBC for its "Everyman" strand (a series which tends to discuss religion rather than dramatise its dilemmas) in 1986, and proved so popular that the play was then transferred to the stage, and thence to the big screen. If you can get hold of a copy, then I advise you to seize the chance to enjoy the original (and best) rendition of this story.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Good' Grief, 2 Jan 2009
By 
Adam "Say something about yourself!" (Dunton, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This BBC film, based on the book 'A Grief Observed' by C S Lewis, was later adapted as a stage play and then screenplay with Sir Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.

It begins with Lewis the Oxord Academic, writer and Christian apologist, in his comfort zone. He is a popular success in all of the above. His is a protected world of an elite academic circle. Lewis believes that his faith has liberated him from a fear of risks and challenge. He considers himself, since his conversion to the Christian faith, as a 'diver,' able to dive into faith without fear of a loss of pride or challenge. Importantly, at this stage, the liberation is mainly at the level of intellect and reason. The fundamental transormation of the soul and heart has only just begun, and is about to leap forward in a wonderful but then shattering and terrible way that Lewis could never have foreseen.
This begins with the correspondence of Joy Gresham, an American woman in an abusive marriage who engages with Lewis intellectually through her letters. They enjoy their correspondence, then Joy suugests that they meet. And slowly, but surely, she begins to lay siege to the walls around his emotional life and heart. The diver is about to dive.
Events progress. Joy's children visit,two lads who put you in mind of the boys in the Narnia stories. Lewis proposes a marriage of convenience, to ensure Joy's citizenship, in a civil ceremony that Lewis is at pains to remove of any emotional conent or significance. In his mind, and to protect his fast crumbling defences, he's helping a friend with a business transaction.
And then, the defences come under nuclear assault when Joy is diagnosed with cancer. Lewis's comforatble world starts to change to one of emotional extremes. Rage, intense love and a feeling of powerlessness break in.
And when Joy dies a painful death, the bereavement tears up the rule book. To say his faith becomes more profound is too pat and insulting to Lewis and his journey. What happens is, after and through his Golgotha experience, God, and the Kingdom, come to his heart in a new way.

This magisterial, profound film cpatures so much of the human experience, in our struggles with faith, our addictions to our comfort zones, and being led through the fire to a new place. Claire Bloom as Joy, and Jos Ackland as Lewis give unforgettable and towering performancs. Ackland's final articulation of his grief to Joy's young son, and his in turn giving in to his loss, is a scene of terrible intensity that will give your own heart a good kicking.

See this. And please someone give it the dvd release it so richly deserves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and heartbreaking, 12 Nov 2012
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I am fortunate to have this production on DVD after searching for it after seeing it on the BBC. Ackland is very convincing as C S Lewis. The grief displayed in this production is mirrored by events in Ackland's personal life. The ability to cope with grief is very poignantly and heartbreaking displayed when CS Lewis is trying to comfort two boys who have lost their mother.
Shadowlands (1985) (TV)
C.S. Lewis: Why am I so afraid? I never knew her love could hurt so much, and I love you and all I want is to love you. Beyond every door I hear your voice saying to me, 'This is only the land of shadows. Real life hasn't begun yet.'

The relationship with his brother and American divorcee Claire Bloom is convincing as is all the settings. You have real insight into CS Lewis life, christian beliefs and Narnia books.
If you are interested in CS Lewis than this is a gem of tv production, and worth every penny if you are fortunate enough to be able to see it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A profound adventure, 9 Dec 2010
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Having read the review by Adam , I can only agree but there is little more that I can say .

However , it IS the very BEST version of this story and Claire Bloom and Joss Ackland are perfectly matched.

The Grief displayed in the book is at one and the same time both heartbreaking and heart warming .

Rich praise indeed to Joss Ackland - who coul dmelt an iceberg with his portrayal of CS Lewis in love grief and utter desolation .
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Shadowlands [DVD][1985]
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