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.
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.