Friday, June 10, 2022

Shadowlands, the movie

Monday evening at Lakeside we enjoyed the movie Shadowlands about C.S. Lewis and his wife Joy at Orchestra Hall (movie theatre) where I sat with Barbara Martin. It had been raining very hard, so my tarp was actually occupying the seat between us. Our book club had read a fictionalized account of Joy Davidson Gresham several years ago, but I wasn't terribly familiar with their story. I noticed that one son had been left out of the story of their friendship, marriage and her death. So last night at an art show I asked Barbara about it, and she told me of the unfortunate life of the older son David and why he was left out of the story. Today she sent me this link which explains a lot, in case you saw Shadowlands. Douglas Gresham, the stepson of Lewis, has had a very interesting life, and survived some very difficult times.

An Untold Tragedy: Douglas Gresham and C.S. Lewis’s Final Years – The European Conservative

C.S. Lewis tried to help his schizophrenic step-son | The Bridgehead
I wrote about Douglas and his life with Lewis in a 2017 blog. Collecting My Thoughts: C. S. Lewis’ son Douglas Gresham

Plot of Shadowlands (from Wikipedia)

"In the 1950s, the reserved, middle-aged bachelor C. S. Lewis is an Oxford University academic at Magdalen College and author of The Chronicles of Narnia series of children's books. He meets the married American poet Joy Davidman Gresham and her young son Douglas on their visit to England, not yet knowing the circumstances of Gresham's troubled marriage.

What begins as a formal meeting of two very different minds slowly develops into a feeling of connection and love. Lewis finds his quiet life with his brother Warnie disrupted by the outspoken Gresham, whose uninhibited behaviour sharply contrasts with the rigid sensibilities of the male-dominated university. Each provides the other with new ways of viewing the world.

Initially, their marriage is one of convenience, a platonic union designed to allow Gresham to remain in England. But when she is diagnosed with cancer, deeper feelings surface, and Lewis' beliefs are tested as his wife tries to prepare him for her death."

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