It’s no secret that famed Christian apologist and author of The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis, was a confirmed atheist for most of his life. His conversion was detailed in his book, Surprised by Joy, which was much later turned into the one-man stage show, C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert, starring actor Max McLean. McLean brings his play to the big screen in director Norman Stone’s The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis.
Based on the original play, The Most Reluctant Convert opens with C.S. Lewis (Max McLean) stepping out of make-up and onto a stage to tell his life story and discuss his conversion to Christianity. Lewis begins with a monologue reasoning for the case of a higher power and His relationship to man. After the introduction, the monologue is intercut with scenes from the childhood and early adulthood of Lewis. Eddie Ray Martin performs Lewis as a child and Nicholas Ralph as a young man.
“…Lewis found himself utterly frustrated and distraught that he now believed in God.”
Lewis speaks of the death of his mother at nine years old and the tumultuous and cold relationship he had with his father. Before college, he fought in World War I, and along the way, he grew steadfast in his belief that there was no god. It wouldn’t be until he attended Oxford University after the war that he met his good friend, J.R.R. Tolkien (Tom Glenister). Through his conversations with Tolkien and his vigorous pursuit to disprove God’s existence, Lewis found himself utterly frustrated and distraught that he now believed in God. The question then became which one should he believe in?
As they say, The Most Reluctant Convert is what it is. I became a Christian decades ago in high school, so the story of Lewis is not foreign to me. I’ve read Surprised by Joy and the Screwtape Letters, so I’m very familiar with the author’s life and work. McLean gives an excellent performance as C.S. Lewis. He’s lost nothing in his numerous performances, and Stone perfectly captures that performance (in voiceover). The filmed scenes of Lewis’ life are the perfect visual companion to McLean’s voiceover and are a remarkable account of the man’s prolific life and career.
If you are interested in an atheist’s conversion to Christianity and want to see a brief cameo by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis is just what you want to see. I don’t have to tell you that the author’s story is overtly pro-Christianity with the intent to convert its audience. But at the same time, it solidly presents the case Lewis made regarding the existence of God and why Jesus Christ is the right guy to follow. The film is perfect for fans of Lewis and the religiously curious.
For screening information, visit the official website for The Most Reluctant Convert.
"…solidly presents the case Lewis made regarding the existence of God and why Jesus Christ is the right guy to follow."