Iris - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Iris Reviews

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½ April 5, 2017
Superlative in every department, this brief (just 80 minutes) biography of novelist Iris Murdoch oscillates between her early university years and final descent into Alzheimer's. Less a straight narrative, the screenplay by director Richard Eyre mirrors the fractures of this awful disease, with sudden switches between the two time frames. Luminously well-acted by the entire cast, particularly Judi Dench and (Oscar-winning) Jim Broadbent, and - as their younger selves - Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville.
March 11, 2017
I greatly enjoyed this love letter to love, life, and the written word.
½ July 6, 2016
??? outstanding performances by all!
March 23, 2016
Just couldnt get into it - not particularly well made or as interesting as it could be
January 21, 2016
A brilliant biopic of Iris Murdoch, even though I don't quite get Murdoch's work, this film is very well made.
½ December 13, 2015
Good old Iris. I'd have given up on her a long time ago.
December 3, 2015
Iris Murdoch's biopic through the eyes of her husband and companion John Baley. Brave performances by all the seasoned actors.
October 29, 2015
Iris's heart-melting performaces and sensitive direction makes it a complete, solid bio-pic.
August 15, 2015
Very well-acted -- especially the great Judi Dench. It brings to mind Still Alice and its very similar subject matter, and it's just as emotional and relatable as that film. Unfortunately, the flashback scenes featuring Dench's character's younger years are filled with the biopic cliches that I can't stand. These scenes, for me, just don't inform enough of the character's older self. I like the transitions between the two time periods, just not so much the flashback content itself.
June 29, 2015
A part biography of the life of Iris Murdoch, although it's essentially a very moving drama and statement about dementia. It's extremely well acted with Jim Broadbent and Judi Dench doing a fantastic job expressing the sadness of frustration of what the cruel degenerative disease does to people both with or without it.
½ June 4, 2015
A slew of good performances but Broadbent stands out in this story of never ending love no matter the cost.
December 23, 2014
The performances are fine from the always great Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent and also from Hugh Boneville. Kate Winslet is good too but I'm not a huge fan of her's but she does a good job. The ending moments are really powerful
½ September 22, 2014
Very touching...... losing memory is really dreadful. But Iris cannot help it. Yet, how about us? Will we unintentionally let our happy memory with those we have once cared and loved fade away when time elapses? How can we reverse this awful truth?
½ June 23, 2014
The true story of Iris Murdoch taken from the memoirs written by her husband. We get to follow their lives, both in their younger days as well as their later ones.

I was very surprised of how strong and wonderful this story was portrayed. The performances of Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent are like always, the best. Under the direction of Richard Eyre, he brings out amazing performances. Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville are also good in their roles as the younger version of thecouple, although their performances are not as strong. But their portion of the story makes the older versions of the two a lot more powerful.

I am just wondering if there would be a chance that we can see a movie where Winslet does NOT take her clothes off. It's really starting to get old.

Sumerizing, this is a truly good drama and shows how someone who has been praised by their talent goes from clear to dimentia.
½ May 22, 2014
Iris is an incredible film. It is about the lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, from their student days through her battle with Alzheimer's disease. Kate Winslet and Judi Dench give excellent performances. The screenplay is well written. Richard Eyre did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama and romance. Iris is a must see.
March 3, 2014
Brilliant movie ! How could it only get 79% ? 5 stars
½ March 2, 2014
A truly beautiful film that portrays a free spirit with a brilliant mind, who in the end loses herself to the terror of Alzheimers, and the wonderful man who loves and cares for her devotedly until the very end. All are excellently played by a stellar cast of Judy Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville. The script weaves the audience back and forth in time to give us this heartbreaking story of love and devotion. The tale rings very true to me, as I watched my father go through the same thing with my mother, except that he had the agony of knowing he was dying of Pancreatic Cancer, and that he would have to leave her to the care of others before they could be together again.
½ February 21, 2014
Docu-Drama Which Was Mildly, If Only JUST..Somewhat Interesting.
February 16, 2014
I had really hoped Iris would be some kind of inspiring dramatic story, but I found myself rather disappointed
The story structure in Iris isn't that good. While it does an effective job of contrasting Iris Murdoch in her youth with her in her later age, it ends up being the cause of Iris' failure to tell its story. Iris never really gets across what it is saying, because there is really no story in there. It would be easier to tie one together if the stories weren't constantly deviating back and forth between separate timeframes of Iris Murdoch's life, but it seems simply as if Iris never really had a story to tell.
Iris isn't that moving because it's more focused on being a depiction of a woman with Alzheimer's disease, and so it is reminiscent of the film from the same year which won the 2001 Academy Award for Best Picture among others: A Beautiful Mind. A Beautiful Mind was a visual depiction of schizophrenia which was excellent, as well as a tale of a man who experienced it and how it affected his life. Iris seems as if it reaches for the same angle, but with a lack of story structure or anywhere for the story to go, all it does is put its actors in a series of inconsistent situations and use their talents in hope that it overshadows the lack of real strength backing the film. And frankly whatever importance that came from Iris Murdoch's life isn't in Iris. Like I said, the film is about a woman who has Alzheimer's disease, and that is the only real angle that director Richard Eyre took with the story because after watching Iris I found myself with no more insight into who Iris Murdoch was than Richard Eyre had.
It seems like all the film did was dramatize a lot of minor elements of her life as well as the key parts of her life which are key to her experiences with Schizophrenia, but at the same time the film tries, although barely, to reveal the woman she was. Richard Eyre simply could not find the appropriate balance to make it work.
Iris doesn't have a story, it has characters and a themes. Luckily, thanks to the actors in the roles of the characters, the themes are pulled off well.
Judi Dench's importance in the film goes on a gradual scale which decreases in line delivery and increases in physicality, and as we've all seen before she knows how to say her words with a real passion. But in Iris her character relies heavily on the physical talents of her as an actress, and she never comes up short. Judi Dench truly succeeds at conveying what it is to experience Alzheimer's disease due to her facial expressions, her movements and the way the viewer feels to be watching such physical and psychological limitations depicted on screen. She does a great job as Iris Murdoch, and it is surely one of her best performances.
But it is Jim Broadbent who gives the arguably finest performance of the film in a career best performance. In Iris he isn't the person with the mental illness, but he has to deal with it in so many ways. And his ways of dealing with the character are flawless in bringing forth the humanity of John Bayley for his passion for Iris Murdoch as well as his eventually partial disdain for her. Jim Broadbent puts such realistic life into the character that he isn't simply re-enacting the story. It feels like its him creating the story himself. And his utter charm and continuous determination as an actor just builds his credibility and strength as the story progresses, and every second that he is on screen is interesting because of him. Jim Broadbent just breathes so much life into Iris that it succeeds as a memorable film, and his Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is well deserved.
The chemistry between Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent is just wonderful. There is a lot of uplifting spirit in what goes on between them at times, but the true passion comes from the real dramatic moments where the characters are forced to face the true tragedy of their situations, because those moments are unforgettable in how they make a dramatic impact on the viewer. Thanks to them, Iris works as a touching story of age and growing closer to death when in it is focused on their timeline which is arguably the more important and entertaining portion of the film. It's definitely the highlight of Iris.
Kate Winslet does a great job portraying the passion of Iris Murdoch from her youth, and even though her portion of the story is lesser to Judi Dench's. It's because she pours a lot of youthful and passionate female spirit into the role and is fearless in dealing with the drama as it comes. She gives another side to Iris Murdoch which helps build her character, and she works as a foil to Judi Dench in the same role.
Hugh Bonneville also proves a capable example of an actor that follows the close talents of another by following the same kind of line delivery, charm and physicality as Jim Broadbent, so much so that for a brief period I genuinely believed that both actors were actually related. It's a pretty impressive talent to have, particularly since Jim Broadbent is the best actor in the film.
And the chemistry between Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville is full of passionate energy and spirit which breathes a lot of life into Iris which it really needed.

So Iris is very well acted and has a decent depiction of Alzheimer's disease, but its story structure is overly tedious and Richardy Eyre proves to be unable to truly tell a story about what makes Iris Murdoch anything much more than a story about a woman with Alzheimer's who happens to bear the name Iris Murdoch.
½ December 24, 2013
This is one of those movies that just feels like it should be a lot better. The acting is all fantastic but aside from that, it's just not that insightful. Not terrible, but I wouldn't exactly recommend it.
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