The Shadowlands: The Christian Hipster’s Guide to the Movies

The Shadowlands        1993

Winger and Hopkins as Davidson and Lewis

Starring Anthony Hopkins (C.S. Lewis) and Debra Winger (Joy Gresham). Directed by Richard Attenborough. Written by William Nicholson, based on his stage play.

Attenborough directs Hopkins. “Jurassic Park” this is not.

Why Hipsters might like this movie:

  • It’s the biography of Christian Hipster macdaddy C.S. Lewis.
  • It’s one of Anthony Hopkins’ period drama trifecta of the early 90s (the other two are The Remains of the Day and Howards End).
  • Not as emotive as Dead Poet’s Society, nor as sexy as Downton AbbeyThe Shadowlands is a movie that can only be appreciated if you’re paying attention.  Which means most people won’t watch it.  Which means it’s not very mainstream.


Things Hipsters will find witty or insightful:

  • Every other thing Lewis says.
  • Edward Hardwicke’s performance as Warnie, Lewis’s brother.
  • Rita Kempley of The Washington Post‘s comment that the film is “essentially a soap opera with a Rhodes Scholarship.”

Things for Hipsters to Note:

  • Watching The Shadowlands will make any viewer want to read old books, drink tea and smoke a pipe.
  • Do not watch this film followed by Silence of the Lambs.  Anthony Hopkins is very good in both roles, to disturbing effect when the characters are seen in close proximity.

    Winger with Joseph Mazello as Douglas Gresham

  • Debra Winger is the actress everybody has forgotten until they see a Debra Winger film (Like Terms of Endearment or Forget Paris).   Then they wonder why she isn’t in more.  This lead to Rosanna Arquette’s documentary Searching for Debra Winger, released in 2000.
  • The film is a nice fix for Anglophiles, but Winger’s performance as Davidson makes you happy to be an American, so everyone wins.
  • Subtly witty and surprisingly moving, The Shadowlands is chock full of good theology, movie romance, and lovely British scenery.  A no-brainer for Christian lovers of sophisticated thought.  Or lovers of Christian sophisticated thought.  Or sophisticated Christian lovers.

Lewis and Gresham find “The Golden Valley.”



About jenletherer

BA, Theater and Speech Communication; English:Creative Writing. Siena Heights University, 2002. MFA, Film Production. Boston University, 2005
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2 Responses to The Shadowlands: The Christian Hipster’s Guide to the Movies

  1. Bryan Dennis says:

    Have you considered publishing a book? I can’t think of a single person I wouldn’t recommend reading: The Christian Hipster’s Guide to the Movies

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