PHOENIX RISING

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A few recommendations: (Do you have a favorite? If so send it in with a brief review.) These may be hard to find in your local videostore so hyperlinks to amazon.com are provided for convenience.

Shadowlands (1994)

This emotionally moving romantic drama was adapted by William Nicholson from his own acclaimed play, based upon the real-life romance (during the 1950s) between the British writer C.S. Lewis and a divorced American poet named Joy Gresham. Best known for writing The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Lewis (Anthony Hopkins) is living comfortably as a respected Oxford don, his academic lifestyle a kind of shell protecting him from the emotional risk of love. Joy Gresham (Debra Winger)arrives at Oxford as an avid admirer of Lewis's writing, and the safety of his collegiate routine is quickly disrupted when Lewis realizes that he's fallen deeply and unexpectedly in love. Their courtship is uniquely engaging; he's shy and uncertain, she's outspoken and bold. But when Joy is diagnosed with cancer, Lewis's Christian faith is put to the test--he cannot fathom why their happiness together would be so drastically challenged. Together, they find a way to accept and honor the time they have shared together, and under the sensitive direction of Richard Attenborough, Shadowlands arrives at a conclusion that is both heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. Hopkins and Winger are equally superb in this absorbing story of personal and spiritual transformation--a story previously filmed for British television in 1985, with Joss Ackland and Claire Bloom. --Jeff Shannon

Rated: PG
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger, et al.
Director: Richard Attenborough

 

Ordinary People (1980)

Robert Redford made his Oscar-winning directorial debut with this highly acclaimed, poignantly observant drama (based on the novel by Judith Guest) about a well-to-do family's painful adjustment to tragedy. Mary Tyler Moore and Donald Sutherland play a seemingly happy couple who lose the older of their two sons to a boating accident; Timothy Hutton plays the surviving teenage son, who blames himself for his brother's death and has attempted suicide to end his pain. They live in a meticulously kept home in an affluent Chicago suburb, never allowing themselves to speak openly of the grief that threatens to tear them apart. Only when the son begins to see a psychiatrist (Judd Hirsch) does the veneer of denial begin to crack, and Ordinary People thenceforth directly examines the broken family ties and the complexity of repressed emotions that have festered under the pretense of coping.

Rated: R
 

 
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