Admittedly, there are the weepy moments when Iris adamantly refuses to give in to this disease, all in vain. There are the struggles with herself and her lover. The literary metaphors and ironies are abundant ("There is only one freedom of any importance, freedom of the mind") and the visual ones are somewhat cliché. Regardless, this is a fascinating work of acting by some incredible talents of our age. It's not always upbeat, but it makes you appreciate what you have and how little it takes to be happy.
IRIS is composed of two intertwining narratives, one of Iris as a young girl, the other as a mature woman suffering the pain and degradation of Alzheimer's. While the intertwining narratives are inventive and beautifully written, the success of this film really depends on the strength of the four primary actors: Kate Winslet and Judi Dench as Iris and Hugh Bonneville and Jim Broadbent as John Bayley, the husband who remained devoted to Iris until the end of her life. I didn't find the two narratives difficult to follow at all. I thought they were very skillfully done and, as a result, quite easy to follow. Of course, those familiar with the life and work of Iris Murdoch will have an easier time of it than those who are not.
Winslet and Dench are perfectly cast as Iris and both manage to convey her quirkiness, her femininity and her artlessness with stunning grace and compassion. Dench, who must portray Iris experiencing the deterioration of her intellectual powers has, perhaps, the more difficult role (and she plays it to understated perfection), but that takes absolutely nothing away from Winslet's stunning portrayal of the young Iris.
Bonneville and Broadbent have an even more daunting task as Bayley, but both actors play their respective roles to perfection. Broadbent is especially good and quite understated as he shows us Bayley's love for Iris even as his heart is breaking over the wife he knows is slowly slipping away from him.Read more ›
Iris is a great film, perhaps one of the finest I've ever seen. I won't be watching it again. Read more