Moviecrazed
  Web www.moviecrazed.com   



IRIS

British author Iris Murdoch and literary critic John Bayley were married for 43 intellectually and emotionally eventful years. This is a portrait of their extraordinary union, including Murdoch's occasional infidelities and her descent into Alzheimer's disease.

(In stores on 8-20)


CAST: Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet, Hugh Bonneville, Eleanor Bron, Penelope Wilton, Angela Morant, Siobhan Hayes, Juliet Aubrey, Joan Bakewell, Nancy Carroll, Kris Marshall, Tom Mannion, Derek Hutchinson, Samuel West

DIRECTOR: Richard Eyre



"...not just a fitting document of a life brilliantly lived but a vibrant, almost palpitating piece of cinema that does justice to its subject by reaching just a little bit further than most movies...Eyre has executed a precise, graceful and intellectually rewarding work worthy of Murdoch herself...'Iris' is much more than the chronicle of an illness. Rather it is one of the great love stories, an epic romance of two empyrean minds whose exacting literary and philosophical standards, as well as their firm commitment to the tactile pleasures of life, informed every strand of their relationship." --Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

"It's amazing, and I don't mean that in a good way, the number of people who have publicly benefited from the private disintegration of the acclaimed British novelist Iris Murdoch in the years before her death in 1999...This glazed-porcelain teapot of a drama is directed by Eyre with heaping emphasis put on the bohemian disarray of the Murdoch-Bayley relationship in general (good housekeeping was never a priority even in saner times), and its squalid post-Alzheimer's decline in particular... All the players are ardent, all the camera work thoughtful--but none so engaging as the novelist now gone, her mind, in its prime, eternally aglow in her own words." --Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

"Eyre has turned out a film that is as much a thoughtful and involving two-character study as a conventional narrative... As for Dench... she takes the by-now-celebrated writer, 'the foremost English novelist of her generation,' first into the shadow of the disease and then into the rigors of its full-blown night. It is also a fearless, vanity-free performance, as Dench does a masterful job of portraying the pain of realizing she's not remembering followed by vacancy, absence and sheer terrifying blankness." --Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

"Richard Eyre captures Ms. Dench's chilblain gaze slowly diminishing in the moldy, minor-key melodrama 'Iris'...Amusingly, the young Iris is like a figure out of D. H. Lawrence with her snapping condescension toward conventional morality; one wonders what she would have thought of this movie, which seems to have been made by the kind of middle-brow she would have walked right past...the film sags under the missed opportunities and the obviousness...Rarely does a movie feel as leaden-footed as 'Iris,' especially when it tries to bounce back and forth. The audience is transported between two very obvious stories and becomes slightly irritated by the grinding inevitability of both of them. As a result, Iris Murdoch gets lost in the shuffle." --Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

"The power of this material lies in the horror of seeing a woman for whom words were everything reduced to wordlessness. It's understandable that Richard Eyre, who directed from a script he co-wrote with Charles Wood, would want to spare us a long, slow slog into despair, but by continually interrupting the sequences of the adult couple with scenes of the young pair, he shatters the emotional power of Dench and Broadbent." --Peter Rainer, New York

"The film is literate, fair and well-acted, but is this particular film necessary? We see her high spirits and fierce intelligence at the beginning, and the sadness at the end. What is missing is the middle...Instead of honoring the work, 'Iris' mourns the life." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times