I loved the version of Jack and Joy's story as portrayed by Joss Ackland and Claire Bloom, having read and been very moved by the original. However, the script for this version has been altered so much that it presents a serious distortion of the truth.
Small examples: Joy had two sons; here she has only one. Why? Joy didn't move to London; she moved straight to Oxford from the USA - why change it?
But the most important objection is to the circumstances surrounding their marriage and their 'miracle', which are simply left out. Everyone knows that CS Lewis was a highly successful advocate of the Christian faith. However, when he decided that he wanted to marry Joy under the auspices of the Church, permission was refused him because Joy was divorced. He had a huge struggle to find a priest who would defy the Bishop and marry them. None of this is shown in the movie.
Nor is it shown that, immediately after the priest - Father Peter Bide - had married them on what they thought would be Joy's deathbed, he asked permission to say some prayers for healing for Joy. It was immediately after this that Joy's recovery began, and the two of them referred to it as their 'miracle.' This is not shown either, but to the two people most closely concerned this was obviously deeply important to them.
Parts of the real story have been sacrificed to make the movie 'pretty.' Jack and his brother Warnie lived in considerable squalor, and Anthomy Hopkins is far too good-looking for the original (do try to find the Joss Ackland version - it came out on video, though I'm not sure it went to DVD). And because they've dropped Joy's second son from the script, they can't show the close parallel between Joy's two boys losing their mother at almost exactly the same age as when Jack and Warnie lost theirs.
It's a pretty movie, and had it been advertised as a work of fiction and the names of the characters changed then it would have worked well. But far too many people will believe that this is the true story of Jack and Joy Lewis, and won't be shown those aspects that mattered most to the real people in their real world.
Guess what? I've just searched for the Joss Ackland/Claire Bloom version - it's been released in the USA. Just search for Shadowlands and scroll past the Hopkins version. I'm so pleased.
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