Lisa M. Hendey reviews a new movie about a beloved author's journey from atheism to Christianity.
Most of us know him best for his perennially bestselling work The Chronicles of Narnia. But long before he was an informal member of the writers' group called The Inklings and created literature that would captivate the world, Clive Staples Lewis was a rambunctious son, an atheist seeker, and an academic who had dabbled in the occult.
The new film The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis offers a rarely seen look into the life circumstances that preceded C.S. Lewis’ embrace of the Christian faith. Initially scheduled for a single-night run, the theatrical release has been extended through November 18 due to an overwhelmingly positive response from audiences.
While the work of C.S. Lewis is beloved by both the young and the young at heart, The Most Reluctant Convert will likely appeal primarily to mature teens and adults who are interested in literature, philosophy, theology, and historical treatments.
The biopic introduces Lewis as a young boy who experiences the loss of his mother and the stern distance of his father. “Jack” – as his family and friends call him – admits to early doubts about faith, a precocious interest in women, and a desire to escape home to dabble into his curiosities.
We’re treated to McLean’s narrative as the elder C.S. Lewis shares insights, interspersed with scenes where Lewis is portrayed by Eddie Ray Martin (child C.S. Lewis) and Nicholas Ralph (young-adult C.S. Lewis). The film’s cinematographic choices and stunning locations belie the fact that the project was filmed during a tight pandemic timeline.
If you love C.S. Lewis, you’ll love the opportunity to learn more about the life that led him to create such a fruitful and impactful body of work.
An elder C.S. Lewis looks back on his remarkable journey from hard-boiled atheist to the most renowned Christian writer of the past century. The Most Reluctant Convert features award-winning actor Max McLean as the older Lewis and Nicholas Ralph – breakout star of PBS Masterpiece’s All Creatures Great and Small – as young Lewis. Beautifully filmed in and around Oxford, this engaging biopic follows the creator of The Chronicles of Narnia from the tragic death of his mother when he was just nine years old, through his strained relationship with his father, to the nightmare of the trenches of World War I to Oxford University, where friends like J.R.R. Tolkien challenge his unbelief. Written for the screen and directed by two-time Emmy and BAFTA winner Norman Stone (BBC’s Shadowlands), The Most Reluctant Convert brings to life the spiritual evolution of one the 20th century’s sharpest minds and keenest wits.
Tickets for The Most Reluctant Convert can be purchased online or at participating theater box offices. For a complete list of theater locations, film resources, a free discussion guide and to purchase tickets, visit CSLewisMovie.com.
Copyright 2021 Lisa M. Hendey
Photos: bottom photo copyright 2021 Lisa M. Hendey, all rights reserved. All others courtesy of CSLewisMovie.com, all rights reserved.