Having been to a celebratory symposium on C.S. Lewis that marked 50 years from his death and was held a week ago in my town, a symposium that talked about his work as an apologetic writer as well as a Romantic Rationalist, I took the time to finally watch Shadowlands ,which was on my to-do-list for a while now . The film appeared on the screen for the first time in 1993 and it stars the famous Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins.
I was aware of the fact that it was wrong to watch the film before reading the book on his life – Surprised by Joy, which, to my defence, I must say that I started reading but lent it to a friend of mine who asked very nicely and I could not refuse.
Being told that it’s not a great film and that Anthony Hopkins doesn’t really fit on Jack’s character, I got more eager to see it. And taking into consideration that its interpretation was more of a secular love story than a life story of a Christian that had to deal with a lot of pain and still chose to believe in a true relationship with a True God, I’d say it was pretty good.
If you haven’t watched it, there’s a link for you :
There’s also a few quotes I personally liked :
“C.S.L :Garden, enclosed by a high wall. Inside the garden, a fountain.
In the fountain, two crystal stones.
In the crystals, in reflection, a rose garden.
In the midst of the roses, one perfect rosebud.
Guillaume de Lorris is using the rosebud, of course…as an image.But an image of what?
C.S.L :What kind of love?
Student:Unopened, like a bud?
C.S.L :Yes. More?
Student: Perfect love.
C.S.L : What makes it perfect? Come on, wake up.
Student: Is it the courtly ideal of love?
C.S.L :What is that?What is its one essential quality?
C.S.L : Unattainability.The most intense joy lies not in the having. .but in the desiring.Delight that never fades, bliss that is eternal…is only yours when what you most desire is just out of reach.”
” John: I have a complaint about the wardrobe.
Harry:Complaint? Our children love it.
Christopher:I will not have another conversation about Jack’s blasted nursery.
John:No. Listen. In the book you describe the house as belonging to an old professor. who has no wife,and yet…you say that when the little girl enters the magic wardrobe, she finds it full of fur coats.
C.S.L:Oh, very good, Eddie. It’s simple.It belonged to the professor’s old mother. Simple.
John:Aha. So, to reach the magic world the child must push through the mother’s fur.
C.S.L : I won’t have that, John. There’s none of your hand-me-down Freudianism.
Harry: But the imagery is Christian, surely.
C.S.L :No, Harry. It’s what it is.Just itself. It…It’s …It’s just magic.Magic. Look. Let me show you.The child steps into the wardrobe.The coats are thick and heavy.
John:What about the fur?
C.S.L :Fur’s not important.The child must push through.They’re pressing close,almost suffocating.And suddenly,there’s white light…crisp, cold air…trees, snow.Total contrast, you see.It’s the gateway to a magical world.“
C.S.L”Yesterday, I received a letter…that referred to an event that took place…almost a year ago now, December 4, 1951.My correspondent hadn’t forgotten.I doubt if any of us have.That was the night….a Number 1 bus drove into a column of young Royal Marine cadets in Chatham. ..and killed 24 of them.You remember?The letter asks…some simple but fundamental questions.Where was God on that December night?Why didn’t He stop it?Isn’t God supposed to be good?Isn’t He supposed to love us?Does God want us to suffer?What if the answer to that question is yes?See, I’m not sure that God particularly wants us to be happy. I think He wants us to be able to love and be loved. He wants us to grow up. I suggest to you that it is because God loves us…that He makes us the gift of suffering.To put it another way,pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.You see, we are like blocks of stone…out of which the sculptor carves the forms of men.The blows of His chisel,which hurt us so much….are what make us perfect. ”
“Christopher: Jack, what news?
C.S.L: Good news, I think. Yes, good news.
Christopher: I’m very glad.
C.S.L: Thank you, Christopher.
Reverend:Christopher can scoff, but I know how hard you’ve been praying. And now God is answering your prayer.
C.S.L: That’s not why I pray.I pray because I can’t help myself.I pray because I’m helpless.I pray beca…I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping.It doesn’t change God.It changes me.”
” C.S.L. :You know, I don’t want to be somewhere else anymore. I’m not waiting for anything new to happen…not looking around the next corner and over the next hill.I’m here now. That’s enough.
Joy: That’s your kind of happy, isn’t it?
C.S.L: Yes. Yes, it is.
Joy: It’s not going to last, Jack.
C.S.L: We shouldn’t think about that now.
Let’s not spoil the time we have.
Joy: It doesn’t spoil it.It makes it real.Let me just say it before this rain stops and we go back.
C.S.L What is there to say?
Joy: That I’m going to die. And I want to be with you then too.The only way I can do that is if I’m able to talk to you about it now.
C.S.L: I’ll manage somehow. Don’t worry about me.
Joy: I think it can be better than that.I think it can be better than just managing.What I … What I’m trying to say is… the pain then is part of the happiness now. That’s the deal. “
“C.S.L: Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore, only the life I have lived.Twice in that life…I’ve been given the choice:As a boy…and as a man.The boy chose safety. The man chooses suffering.The pain now is part of the happiness then.That’s the deal.”