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  • PG
  • 2h 11m
  • 1993
Common Sense Media Iconage 10+
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Based on a true story, C.S. Lewis (Anthony Hopkins) is a world renowned writer and professor. Unmarried, he leads a gentleman's life filled by intellectual pursuits, remaining untouched by any great passion until he meets Joy Gresham (Debra Winger). Joy is a feisty, abrasive New York divorcee whose sharp-edged, no-nonsense attitudes take Lewis by surprise. Bursting unexpectedly into Lewis' world, Joy shocks his associates and awakens him to deep emotions he had written about, but never experienced. Slowly he opens his heart to this woman, and their romance shatters the walls of his cloistered world. But life is made up of delicate balances, and Lewis must confront a terrible truth: that a heart awakened to great love is also opened to great pain.
© 1993 Focus Features. All Rights Reserved.

Rotten Tomatoes® Score

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.
Emanuel Levy

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.

June 21, 2017
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Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media Iconage 10+
Common Sense Says
C.S. Lewis biopic has great performances but no kid appeal.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Shadowlands is a highly regarded yet slow-moving period drama about the life of British author C.S. Lewis (Anthony Hopkins), who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia books. A love story is at the heart of the movie, but the only depiction of anything sexual is two brief kissing scenes. Themes of love, faith, compassion, and loss are adult-centric, and not written with a young audience in mind. Spoiler alert: One character dies of cancer. Joy (Debra Winger) is the only female character, but she's established as being far more interesting than the men around her. Many scenes feature alcohol, although only one shows someone having too much. Characters smoke pipes and cigarettes (accurate for the era). "Balderdash" and "good Lord" are the strongest words used.

A Lot or A Little?

The parents’ guide to what’s in this movie.
Positive Messages
Positive Role Models
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Additional Info

  • Genre:Drama
  • Release Date:December 29, 1993
  • Languages:English
  • Captions:English
  • Audio Format:
  • Screen Pass Eligible:Yes
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