Iris (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Iris (2001)



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

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 house, with John doting on his more famous wife. When Iris begins experiencing forgetfulness and dementia, however, the ever-doltish but devoted John struggles with hopelessness and frustration to become her caretaker, as his wife's mind deteriorates from the ravages of Alzheimer's disease. Iris earned a slew of Supporting Actor awards for Broadbent, including recognition from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and National Board of Review. ~ Karl Williams, Rovimore
Rating: R (for sexuality/nudity and some language)
Genre: Drama, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Charles Wood, Richard Eyre
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 20, 2002
Box Office: $5.4M
Miramax Films - Official Site


Judi Dench
as Iris Murdoch
Jim Broadbent
as John Bayley
Kate Winslet
as Young Iris Murdoch
Hugh Bonneville
as Young John Bayley
Eleanor Bron
as Principal
Timothy West
as Old Maurice
Sioban Hayes
as Check-out Girl
Juliet Aubrey
as Young Janet Stone
Joan Bakewell
as BBC Presenter
Kris Marshall
as Dr. Gudgeon
Tom Mannion
as Neurologist
Samuel West
as Young Maurice
Saira Todd
as Phillida Stone
Juliet Howland
as Emma Stone
Charlotte Arkwright
as Young Phillida Stone
Harriet Arkwright
as Young Emma Stone
Siobhan Hayes
as Check-out girl
Matilda Allsopp
as Little Stone
Steve Edis
as Pianist
Emma Handy
as Older Maurice
Stephen Marcus
as Taxi Driver
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Iris

Critic Reviews for Iris

All Critics (127) | Top Critics (41)

Admittedly, it's hard not to be affected.

Full Review… | April 9, 2010
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.

Full Review… | December 14, 2006

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

Full Review… | November 25, 2006
Reel Film Reviews

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

Full Review… | February 8, 2003
Film Quips Online

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

Full Review… | August 26, 2002
Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

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

Full Review… | August 19, 2002
Matinee Magazine

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.

Sophie Burgess

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.

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.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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