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Iris (2001)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 109
Fresh: 86 | Rotten: 23

A solidly constructed drama, Iris is greatly elevated by the strength of its four lead performances.


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 4

A solidly constructed drama, Iris is greatly elevated by the strength of its four lead performances.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 9,077

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on a pair of memoirs by her husband John Bayley, this biographical portrait of writer Iris Murdoch stars both Judi Dench and Kate Winslet as the philosophical author at different stages of her life. When the young Iris (Winslet) meets fellow student Bayley (Hugh Bonneville) at Oxford, he's a na´ve virgin easily flummoxed by her libertine spirit, arch personality, and obvious artistic talent. Decades later, little has changed as the couple (now played by Dench and Jim Broadbent) keeps


Drama, Romance

Charles Wood, Richard Eyre

Aug 20, 2002


Miramax Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (127) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (86) | Rotten (23) | DVD (15)

[The] performances, if nothing else, embody a standard of excellence that Iris Murdoch herself would surely have cheered.

February 28, 2002
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The impoverished story keeps Iris from achieving greatness, but no qualifiers are needed for the acting.

February 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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For a movie whose subject is the decline and fall of a towering intellect, there's precious little to think about here.

February 23, 2002 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are not two, but four sterling performances here.

February 15, 2002
Washington Post
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Not just a fitting document of a life brilliantly lived but a vibrant, almost palpitating piece of cinema.

February 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...intrigues and devastates.

February 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Admittedly, it's hard not to be affected.

April 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

Despite good acting from the two pairs, viewers expecting illuminating insights about the literary genius, eccentric philosophy and complex sexuality of Iris Murdoch will be disappointed by Richard Eyre's minor, rambling, TV-like film.

December 14, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

...Iris isn't necessarily an enjoyable piece of work, though it's certainly interesting...

November 25, 2006 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

There is not a slouch in this film, in front of or behind the camera.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

A mechanical, shallow reduction of a person's life.

August 26, 2002 Full Review

Made by people who seem to think that tracking degenerate behavior is more important than character development

August 19, 2002 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

Some films, like some people, grow more dear to one's heart with time. Iris is such a film.

July 13, 2002 Full Review

Love endures. That's perhaps the most important lesson to be learned in this unconventional love story.

July 5, 2002 Full Review
Des Moines Register

Romantic - not of finding, but of knowing...the longer journey of being in love together, and living through what they experience.

July 1, 2002 Full Review

Anyone who wants to join my newly formed Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Iris Murdoch's Memory (SPCIMM), please contact me immediately.

May 30, 2002 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Si han amado a alguien de tal modo que duele el hacerlo, esta es la cinta que deben ver.

May 12, 2002

Structurally, this is a cumbersome, unbalanced film, but it is brilliantly acted.

April 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

When the film tried to put something in about her work, it failed to do it with any cohesion.

March 18, 2002 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A subtle, poignant portrait of mature love, of the strength and conviction required to keep the faith.

March 15, 2002
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

you almost get the feeling she copulated with the lads to get nearer their minds and with the gals for the sheer fun of it.

March 14, 2002 Full Review Source: UK UK

...spoke to me directly as if it weren't a movie at all but loved ones whom I was witnessing going through the emotional upheaval of Alzheimer's.

March 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

Iris fails to enlighten us into either the tragedy of Alzheimer's disease or the woman that it strikes.

March 5, 2002 Full Review Source:

... the film is cursory and shallow ...

March 4, 2002 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

The film is about the power of the mind and the tragedy of losing it, but it is also a very moving love story, played with heartbreaking sincerity by Broadbent.

March 1, 2002 Full Review Source:

[Winslet] is so utterly, fearlessly winning that she peels the arrogance off Iris, makes her shine with life strength.

March 1, 2002 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

Audience Reviews for Iris

Whilst the performances and cast we very good and well suited to each other, I feel like this is supposed to make Iris look like a great person who had a brilliant life but what I saw was completely to the contrary. They showcased Iris to be a selfish, horrible and uncaring woman who only has a sense of humanity when she becomes ill. Her poor husband John who she treated terribly should have left her the moment he met her. Really didn't enjoy this film at all.
October 29, 2011

Super Reviewer

Heart wrenching true story of the remarkable life of Iris Murdoch and her utterly devoted husband John Bayley. I found myself having flashbacks of The Notebook and of my own grandmother's spiraling decline into darkness. God damn Alzheimer's disease.
January 29, 2011
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Each individual performance was influenced by the actual character, but personality leaked in undoubtedly. Judi Dench, so utterly amazingly, took on Alzheimer's without her usual grace, which not only surpirsed me, but made me respect her more. Winslet was her usual whimsical self, and Broadbent, the cooky man of the hour, put on the appearance of a man with little left in life. Beautiful, and scary, it would have been much better had they focused more on Iris' past, and less on her later years.
November 24, 2010

Super Reviewer

While I watched this film, I enjoyed it. i enjoyed Dench's convincing portrayal of the Alzheimer's-afflicted Murdoch and Winslet as the vivacious younger Murdoch, and I was astounded by Jim Broadbent, who deserved the Oscar for Murdoch's stuttering, inferior-complex-afflicted, devoted husband. He is truly fantastic in this role.
But as I thought about the film, I realized just how eminently forgettable it is. Not only is it thin on plot, the narrative structure - with multiple flashbacks and half-scenes - actually detracts from the dramatic impact of the story. Attention story-tellers of all ilks: this is how *not* to do fractured time. Just because Tarantino can make it work, doesn't mean everyone else can. Also, for a moment, the Dench/Broadbent storyline seems to echo A Beautiful Mind, and we are mercifully given a central, driving goal, but this is unfortunately abandoned, and more rousing violins play.
Thank heavens for Broadbent, who almost makes it all worth it.
November 3, 2010
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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April 13, 2006:
Rogue Shows Some Fuzz Love
Read on for a very formal press release from Rogue Pictures, the ultimate gist of which is this:...

Foreign Titles

  • Iris (UK)
  • Iris (2002) (CA)
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