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True story of the lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, from their student days through her battle with Alzheimer's disease.

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(books), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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4,863 ( 82)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Young John Bayley
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Principal
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Hostess
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Janet Stone
Siobhan Hayes ...
Check-Out Girl
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Young Janet Stone
Joan Bakewell ...
BBC Presenter
Nancy Carroll ...
BBC PA
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Dr. Gudgeon
Tom Mannion ...
Neurologist
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Postman
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Young Maurice (as Sam West)
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Storyline

Iris, based on the life of revered British writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch, is a story of unlikely yet enduring love. As a young academic, teaching philosophy at Oxford, Murdoch meets and eventually falls in love with fellow professor John Bayley, a man whose awkwardness seems in stark opposition to the spirited self-confidence of his future wife. The story unfolds as snippets of time, seen through Bayley's eyes. He recalls their first encounter over 40 years ago, activities they enjoyed doing together, and Iris' charismatic and individualistic personality. These images portray Murdoch as a vibrant young woman with great intellect and are contrasted with the novelist's later life, after the effects of Alzheimer's disease have ravaged her. Murdoch's great mind deteriorates until she is reduced to a mere vestige of her former self, unable to perform simple tasks and completely reliant on her at times frustrated yet devoted husband. Written by kem

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Her greatest talent was for life


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

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Release Date:

29 March 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch  »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$23,144 (USA) (14 December 2001)

Gross:

$1,292,119 (USA) (7 August 2015)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film also marks the second time that Judi Dench, and another actress playing the same part, have both been nominated for an Oscar. Previously, Dench won Best Supporting Actress for playing Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love (1998), the same year that Cate Blanchett was nominated for playing the part in Elizabeth (1998). See more »

Goofs

When Iris and John are traveling to the nursing home, they are seen crossing a bridge. This bridge is Magdalene Bridge and leads to East Oxford, yet The Vale House, where Iris Murdoch spent the final years of her life, was (and still is) in South Oxford. See more »

Quotes

Iris Murdoch: Every human soul has seen, perhaps before their birth, pure forms such as justice, temperance, beauty and all the great moral qualities which we hold in honour. We are moved towards what is good by the faint memory of these forms, simple and calm and blessed, which we saw once in a pure, clear light, being pure ourselves.
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Connections

Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

The Lark in the Clear Air
Music: Traditional tune: Caisleán U, Néill
Lyrics by Samuel Ferguson (about 1850)
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User Reviews

Shattering

This episodic story of Iris Murdoch, best selling novelist, and her husband John Bayley, is not for the faint-hearted. There are no illusions here, and those that seem to exist are shattered by grim reality.

The film pulls no punches, showing Iris as a self-absorbed, stream-of-consciousness woman who becomes ill with Alzheimer's disease. Her husband, in sickness and in health, seems to always be a step behind her. However, he is enthralled with her - totally devoted and ultimately alone.

Yet, this portrait is beautiful and episodic, filled with symbolism, wonderful flashbacks, and the threads of a relationship built and undone. The four leads are just wonderful, with Jim Broadbent deservedly receiving an Oscar for his performance. Superb cinematography, editing, and direction support the actors and the great script.

Highly recommended. I give it 9 out of 10.


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