One of the best qualities of Richard Attenborough's adaptation of William Nicholson's play is the way it doesn't feel like a play at all. This is an excellent quality to possess, especially in a film that is in part about a middle-aged man discovering the joy of being alive. About halfway in, Winger's Joy takes Hopkins' Jack on vacation, a sequence shot in typically lush Attenborough fashion but made truly memorable by the inexperienced Jack's joy upon discovering that he can order cocktails sent up to his room. Extremely well-acted by both leads (note the way Winger slowly absorbs English inflections in her speech the more time her character spends there), Shadowlands steers away from the maudlin territory typically inhabited by doomed romances, emphasizing instead the emotional journeys of each character, both in terms of their time together and apart. Winger subtly plays a woman whom life has continually disappointed, and who is faced with the prospect of leaving it just as her fortunes have turned around. Hopkins' character is one who's come to think he's solved life's mysteries and must suddenly admit how little he knows. Teamed with Attenborough's restrained direction, they create a deeply memorable drama of unexpected renewal.