The story of a couple’s love superimposed on their faith journey, Based on the classic memoir written by Sheldon Vanauken.

Los Angeles Times
“A deep, uncompromising story about human and divine love.”

New Oxford Review
“A towering and noble work in its own right, wrought by a real craftsman …”


A son of privilege, Sheldon Vanauken (Van) was listless, disconnected and seeking reason to engage adulthood in an America still ravaged by the last waves of the Great Depression. Jean Davis (Davy) was a rebel soul on her own escape from the times and the rejection of her family. When Van and Davy collide one snowy night, the sparks launch them into an epic story that would inspire millions.

While the world around them descends into the blackness of war, Van and Davy escape into a mutual love that is idyllic and even obsessive. They determine to craft a bond that can never be broken, and resolve to share every memory, good and bad, and to shut out whatever could possibly separate them.

The pair encounter C.S. Lewis on a visit to Oxford, and his humor and wisdom cause them to question their paganism. When Davy is nearly raped in a random attack, she descends into a deep struggle with the reality of the evil of the world. She finds her way out through a profound encounter with the suffering Christ. Her transformation sends Van into a spiral of confusion and anger; as he finds himself the other man in a love-triangle with the Christian God.

As Davy moves into deeper levels of holiness, a begrudged Van plays at sin. Driven by pain and love, Davy makes an offering of her life for Van and soon after she is diagnosed with a fatal illness. Terrified, Van embarks on a frantic spiritual struggle with God for his wife’s life. In the end, Van surrenders Davy into the hands of a God he has gradually come to know as Lord. His friendship with C.S. Lewis helps him to articulate the “severe mercy” that has saved his soul.

Set amidst the terrors of the attack on Pearl Harbor, in the serene blue waters of the Carribbean, and under the ivy bricks of Oxford, A Severe Mercy will be an epic cinematic project. Its universal themes of enduring love and the encounter with life changing transcendence will resound with audiences the world over.