In 1952, American poet Joy Gresham (Debra Winger) travels to England with her young son Douglas (Joseph Mazzello) to meet with Oxford University professor C.S. Lewis (Sir Anthony Hopkins), author of the Narnia books. They hit it off quite well and become good friends even though they are a contrast of opposites: C.S. quiet and studious, and Joy being talkative and never hesitating to speak her mind. After Joy gets a divorce from her husband and returns to England, C.S., known to his friends as Jack, even agrees to marry her to allow her to stay in England. Jack is a religious man and doesn't consider their civil ceremony to be a true marriage. After Joy falls seriously ill however, he begins to realize just how much he does love her and in 1956, they are married before God. Joy's illness is serious however, and while they get to spend a few years together, that time is all too short.