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Editorial Reviews

Two of acting's most brilliant talents take on the daunting role of renowned novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch. Kate Winslet portrays the young Murdoch in her heady years at Oxford-unaware of future life events, she says, "There is only one freedom of any consequence: that of the mind"-while Dame Judi Dench masterfully conveys the later years of aging and Alzheimer's. In the forefront is husband and caretaker John Bayley (played by Jim Broadbent), who remains devoted and loving even through his love's encumbered thinking and, at time, abuse. Based on Bayley's book Elegy for Iris. "A must-see canticle to married love"-Dallas Morning News. 90 min. DVD.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet, Hugh Bonneville, Eleanor Bron
  • Directors: Richard Eyre
  • Writers: Richard Eyre, Charles Wood, John Bayley
  • Producers: Anthony Minghella, DTeflon, David M. Thompson, Guy East
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: August 20, 2002
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067J3R
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,151 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Iris" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Nominated for Best Actress is Judi Dench, along with Best Supporting Actress, Kate Winslet.
Sheryl Fechter
Not an easy film to watch, it is nevertheless a brilliant achievement celebrating the endurance of love, even in the face of Alzheimer's disease.
Mary Whipple
An absolutely timeless film that portrays the true life of the British author and philosopher Iris Murdoch.
Richard R. Carlton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A. T. A. Oliveira on June 7, 2002
Format: DVD
"Iris" is not an easy to movie to watch. It is very painful and it can be unberable to some people. But in the end you see how much it means to have someone to support and love you -- mainly when you need.
The film tells the story of the British novelist and phlisopher Iris Murdoch. Alternating scenes from the young Iris (Kate Winslet) and the old (Judi Dench) the film shows the most important periods of her relationship with the love of her life John Bayley ( Hugh Bonneville and Jim Broadbent). So we see when they first met and how they develop such a relarionship founded on love, friendship and mutual admiration. And we also see their last days, when the desease dominates Iris' mind.
The cast is simply a wonderful. No actor is in the wrong place and the four central actors who plays the couple in different times of their lives are stunning. Kate Winslet once more is brilliant as the young Iris who is beautiful inteligente and fierce. Judi Dench as the older Iris is centred and calm, but still brilliant and the moments when the diseades dominates her mind she is perfect. Jim Broadbent really deserved his Oscar as Iris soul mate. He is the one who helps her to fight the disease, despite the fact it is a lost battle -- as all doctors say.
The direction is simple and quite effective. The screenplay may sound confusing at first, but it is not. The writer meant to show how close facts that happen to the young Iris to the old one are.
Love can not cure anything, but with this movie we see how it helps when hard times come. Iris and John had only each other to support, and they did so until the last minute. Another thing, after seeing the movie, I'm feeling very temptead to read some of Iris' novels.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Horner on August 24, 2002
Format: DVD
Because I have personally witnessed the devastation of Alzheimer�s Disease, I was hesitant to view �Iris�, which is an unflinching account of famed British writer Iris Murdoch�s battle with this monstrous illness. Now, I�m glad I saw it. It�s a beautiful film.
Murdoch [1919-1999] wrote nearly thirty novels, most of which deal with the complexities and mysteries of human behavior. She also taught philosophy. She deeply loved her husband of forty years, John Bayley, a renowned literary critic. Her other great love was words. To watch her slowly losing contact with all she loved [and, thus, with all she was] is a deeply touching experience, though the movie can only begin to describe the real-life events.
Iris is portrayed as a young woman by Kate Winslet. Judi Dench plays the older Iris. Young John is Hugh Bonneville, old John is Jim Broadbent, who won and Oscar for his performance. The casting is perfect, not only because the actors are great ones, but also because they blend perfectly as the movie switches back and forth between the present and the past.
This is not meant to be a comprehensive biography. It touches on only a few highlights, which are meant to contrast the vibrantly alive and productive young Iris with the fragile and lost Iris at the end of her life. It is done with great compassion, and the result is perhaps the best illustration of the horror of Alzheimer�s ever put on film.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By E. C. O'Donovan on January 26, 2002
This is such a beautiful film, and although it's sad I didn't find it depressing. The setting is drab - in fact, most of it is filmed in a dilapidated old house - but the effective use of flash-backs and the four superb, Oscar-worthy performances of Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonville shine and make this movie something truly exceptional. See it.
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 21, 2002
I've never read any book by the British author, Iris Murdoch, and I doubt that I'll get around to it. However, my decision to ignore literature of probably better quality than I usually choose does not detract from my admiration for the film IRIS, with the title role played by Dame Judi Dench.
Murdoch died in 1999 of Alzheimer's Disease, and IRIS is a poignant and sad chronicle of her descent into mental darkness. (Also currently in theaters is the magnificent film A BEAUTIFUL MIND, starring Russell Crowe, which showcases schizophrenia. It's been a good year for mental maladies.) The tragedy of the IRIS story is emphasized by the heavy use of flashbacks, in which a young and free-spirited Murdoch, played effectively by Kate Winslet, is compared to the aging and deteriorating version portrayed by Dame Judi. Indeed, one of the most notable aspects of the production is the casting, which impressively manages to present to the audience both "young" and "old" versions of both Murdoch and her husband, John Bayley, that actually resemble each other. (I admit, a lot of the credit must likely go to the studio's Makeup Department, but still ...) The "young" Bayley is depicted by Hugh Bonneville, and the "old" version by Jim Broadbent. Bonneville is absolutely superb - a Best Supporting Actor Oscar is due - as the stammering, awkward, virginal and painfully shy 29-year old geek that wins the heart of young Iris. (This provides evidence, I guess, that even the Nerdy Guy sometimes get the Most Popular Girl.)
In an earlier review of 2001's THE SHIPPING NEWS, I remarked that Dench's competent performance in that film wasn't anything exceptional considering her great talent.
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