The Most Reluctant Convert

“The dullest and most uninteresting person you meet may one day be a creature that if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to fall down and worship or else a horror or a corruption such as you now meet, or if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are helping each other to one or another of these two destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities that I should now conduct all my dealings. There are no ordinary people, I’ve never met a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, civilizations, these are mortal. Their life is to ours as that of a gnat. It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, exploit.” C. S. Lewis

“The Most Reluctant Convert” is a movie about the conversion experience of C. S. Lewis. It is not a full biographical film of his life. While the film does show some aspects of Lewis’s childhood and other biographical details its focus is on Lewis’s testimony as a former atheist who came to believe, against his will, first that there was a God, and later in Jesus as that God. The movie has Lewis talk about his lifelong search for “Joy” and its connection to a spiritual world beyond this one which convinced him he must have been made for another world. Much of the film is drawn from Lewis’s 1955 autobiography “Surprised by Joy”. It is based on a one-man play starring and written by Max McLean who also stars in the movie as the old Lewis looking back.

The movie is primarily dialog to the audience from McLean along with other actors playing supporting scenes from Lewis’s life. Some may find this dull but Lewis’s words are so powerful and delivered so well by McLean that it worked very well and is a great testimony to one man’s conversion experience. Sometimes McLean merely narrates the scenes, and sometimes he stands inside them, watching his younger self.

I loved this movie as I am a fan of and always moved by Lewis’s words, many of which are presented beautifully in this film. The words quoted above were said by Lewis at the end of the movie as he made his conversion final and came to realize that immortal people were what was important as they will become either a child of God or a horror, a child of the devil (I John 3:10). The last scene shows the actual grave of C. S. Lewis, who died in 1963, and we understand that he has now found his “Joy”. I highly recommend this movie to all but especially to any fan of C. S. Lewis.

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