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Iris (2001)

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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 »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Principal
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Hostess
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Siobhan Hayes ...
Check-Out Girl
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Young Janet Stone
Joan Bakewell ...
BBC Presenter
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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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Language:

Release Date:

29 March 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,144, 16 December 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,292,119, 9 August 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only film that year to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress Oscars. 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: Education doesn't make you happy. And what is freedom? We don't become happy just because we are free, if we are. Or because we have been educated, if we have. But because education may be the means by which we realize we are happy. It opens our eyes, our ears. Tells use where delights are lurking. Convinces us that there is only one freedom of any importance whatsoever: that of the mind. And give us the assurance, the confidence, to walk the path our mind, our educated mind, offers.
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Connections

Referenced in The Oscars (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Que Reste-t-il de nos Amours ?
Music by Charles Trenet
Lyrics by Charles Trenet
Performed by Charles Trenet
Published by Salabert Phonographic (c) Luxy Music SA
(c) Universal Music Group Publishing (ASCAP)
By kind permission of Herrison Vert SA
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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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