1952. Theologian and essayist, CS 'Jack' Lewis (Hopkins) conducts a life of faintly mildewed bachelorhood at Magdalen College, Oxford. If there's any hint of desperation in his quietude, it's not to be found in his philosophical discourse, but in his children's books about Narnia, the magical land that lies behind the wardrobe. These strange and wonderful tales bring American poet Joy Gresham (Winger) and her son Douglas (Mazzello) into Lewis's small circle, an unlikely meeting which is to affect them all. Biting down on his pipe, his shirt collar permanently askew, Hopkins assays another concerted study in English repression - a condition unexpectedly relieved by Winger's brash intelligence and brittle wit. Attenborough does a good job with the musty hallowed halls and condescending donnish banter without letting the mise-en-scène clog up the works. Taken from the play by William Nicholson, this is the director's least sanctimonious, least verbose picture. It's just a shame that, given the emphasis on the primacy of emotional experience, it feels like such a self-contained, studious exercise.
Cast and crew