I haven't been in an audience as quiet for a long time. Debra Winger and Anthony Hopkins are premier actors and both have two roles this year which qualify them for Academy Award nominations.
Joy Gresham (Winger) moves to England with her son, Douglas (Joseph Mazzello - Jurassic Park), as her marriage fails. She almost becomes the female fox who disturbs the staid safe life on the Oxford campus. She particularly affects Jack Lewis (Hopkins), a professor on campus. Their relationship grows, but Lewis is a safe bachelor who live comfortably with his brother and holds a position of prominence on campus.
When Gresham invades Lewis' life he realizes he lives in the Shadowlands, just out of reach of the joy of life and sunshine which is near but not his unless he takes chances and moves from the patterned life he leads.
Their lives come together both for happiness and sadness and he is significantly changed because of her.
Using the English countryside and historical college locations, Director Richard Attenborough quietly allow Gresham and Lewis to take hold of the audience with their intellect, vulnerability and love story. Expect to shed a few tears. Some have compared "Shadowlands" has a sense of reality; it is not a phony tear-jerker.
Winger's work in A Dangerous Woman and Hopkins' performance in Remains of the Day are as good if not better than their work in this film. That could bring confusion and dilution of their chances when awards are made for 1993 films. These two actors deserve recognition; they are a joy to watch.