Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Shadowlands' Called Distorted Reflection Movie Ignores Lewis' Faith, Friend Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Shadowlands' Called Distorted Reflection Movie Ignores Lewis' Faith, Friend Says

Article excerpt

In March 1957, the celebrated Christian writer C.S. Lewis urgently contacted an Anglican priest who had gained a reputation as a healer.

Months earlier Lewis, an Oxford don, had arranged a secret civil marriage to U.S. divorcee Joy Davidman, so that she and her two sons could stay in Britain. Then cancer struck her, prompting Lewis to confess his love and seek the sacrament of marriage.

So the Rev. Peter Bide came to Davidman's deathbed to pray for healing and to celebrate the marriage. Soon after the rites, the cancer went into remission, and Davidman and Lewis lived as husband and wife until her death in 1960.

The wedding is included in director Richard Attenborough's new movie "Shadowlands," the love story of Davidman and Lewis.

But the healing rite was omitted, along with dozens of other Christian events and themes that knit their lives together. The movie ignores "A Grief Observed," the book Lewis wrote after Davidman's death, and ends with him mired in doubt, his faith in ruins.

"Anyone who knew Jack knows that simply wasn't true," said George Sayer, using Lewis' nickname. "In the end, his faith was deeper.

"We spent hours talking about that after Joy died. For a time he was angry and he asked hard, honest questions about prayer and suffering. But I cannot think of a thing he said, or anything he did, that hinted that his faith was damaged, let alone destroyed."

Sayer, 80, who lives in Worcestershire, England, knew Lewis for 29 years. He is the author of "Jack: A Life Of C.S. Lewis." In 1952, Lewis invited Sayer to his first Oxford lunch with a brash visitor from the United States - poet Joy Davidman.

"It was clear from the start that Jack was attracted to Joy, and she was very attracted to him," said Sayer. "He was quite taken with her humor, which was razor-sharp, and with her deep and mystical Christian faith. . . . I can't stress too much that he considered her his equal - intellectually and spiritually. …

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