The Most Reluctant Convert is a wonderful telling of the biography of beloved author C.S. Lewis. It chronicles Lewis’ life from his early childhood through his conversion to Christianity as a young man in 1929, featuring his circle of friends, which include J.R.R Tolkien.
The movie used some very clever and original storytelling devices. The opening credits roll on the set of the movie, where the narrator, Max McLean, walks onto the set amid film production people, looks into the camera, and then goes into character as Lewis, commencing a first person narration of the thoughts and events of Lewis’ life. McLean as Lewis walks the viewer through the scenes of the story while other actors dramatize the narrated events, as adapted from Lewis’ autobiography, “Surprised by Joy.” It’s a well-done period piece, with perfect sets and costumes, beginning in the Edwardian era of Lewis’ youth, through the Great War and the 1920s, and filmed in the actual locations of Lewis’ life events.
This film is adapted from Max McLean’s one-man play, which made the rounds several years ago. McLean is brilliant and utterly believable as Jack Lewis. The flow of Lewis’ thought is very deep, and one follows along as this profound thinker explains the exhaustive process of mental contortion as he moved from childhood faith and disillusionment to adolescent unbelief, and then, step by cerebral step, to find his way back to Christian faith as an adult Oxford scholar.
There is one classic segment which was the funniest part of the one-man play: Lewis, an atheist still considering Christ, is pondering the Christian authors he loves….
Dante and Milton seemed quite reasonable… apart from their Christianity. G. K. Chesterton seemed quite reasonable… apart from his Christianity. Christianity seemed quite reasonable… apart from its Christianity.
This movie is brilliantly produced, and stunningly performed by Max McLean, and “breaks the fourth wall” in the most unique manner I’ve ever seen. Also, while the average viewer might get lost in Lewis’ philosophical gyrations, this movie answers well the common complaints hurled by intellectuals against the Christian faith. I recommend watching this with all the latte-sipping college professor types in your life.
There are also some very touching parts which you need to see for yourselves. You won’t be disappointed.
Five stars, see The Most Reluctant Convert while you can, and tell all your friends. And be sure to catch it when it streams and becomes available on DVD.