When C.S. Lewis walked Addison’s Walk in Oxford, England J.R.R. Tolkien had a conversation that made him “the most depressed and reluctant convert in all England”. Lewis recounted that experience in his famous book Surprised by Joy.
Now, a new Christian romance drama with the same name tells a different story with similar themes.
The film “Surprised by Oxford” is based on the memoir of the same name by Carolyn Weber. The memoir is the true story of how Caro (Weber’s nickname) earned a doctorate in romantic literature at Oxford University and had a conversion experience.
Before entering college, Carol had a difficult family life that left her with questions about the meaning of life, doubts about her faith, and emotional struggles. While there, she falls in love with a Christian man and struggles with faith, truth, the life she wants, and love. The same story of love and conversion is expected from the film. “The true-life story of American schoolgirl Caro Drake is an exploration of the beauty and complexity of a life full of wonder, experienced in a way not unlike C.S. Lewis’ famous awakening nearly a century ago in the hallowed halls of Oxford, England.” reads the synopsis of the film.
Here’s a look at what some of the reviews are saying about The Oxford Surprise. It premiered at the Heartland International Film Festival in October 2022 and hits theaters this month.
“Another pillar of quality in this film is the performance of the two brilliant leads. (Rose) Reid guides the emerging personality of Caro with skill and confidence. (Ruairi) O’Connor plays Weber with an intensity and precision reminiscent of Jesse Eisenberg’s best performances. “The Oxford Surprise” will pleasantly surprise the viewer, regardless of your religious leanings, wrote Bradley Gibson for Film Threat.
“While ‘Surprised Oxford’ sometimes touches that feel-good spirit a little heavily, (Ryan) Whitaker grounds it with a realistic and light emotional resonance that inspires without being preachy,” Richard. Propes wrote for The Independent Critic.
“As a Christian film critic, it’s a rare pleasure to watch a ‘faith’ film and smile more than cry. Written and directed by Ryan Whitaker, ‘Oxford Surprise’ prioritizes things often overlooked in faith-based entertainment: stylistic beauty, clever storytelling, good acting and a purpose to entertain , not preaching to audiences,” wrote Brett McCracken for the Gospel Coalition. . “Surprised by Oxford” made me reflect on my time there, as well as my own psychological struggles, relationship riding, emotional intelligence development (still learning) and religious skepticism. “‘Oxford Surprise’ is an entertaining, thought-provoking and moving film,” wrote Rusty Wright in The For the Washington Examiner.
“This last point is important: to be honest, I’ve seen a lot of Christian movies where there’s only one or two prayers from a character about Christ. I’ve also seen Christian movies so full of Christian morals that they give up the plot for the message. Kennedy Unthank wrote on Plugged In.
“Surprised Oxford” publication date
“Surprised Oxford” trailer.