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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.

Director:

Richard Eyre

Writers:

John Bayley (books), Richard Eyre (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:
Kate Winslet ... Young Iris Murdoch
Hugh Bonneville ... Young John Bayley
Judi Dench ... Iris Murdoch
Jim Broadbent ... John Bayley
Eleanor Bron ... Principal
Angela Morant ... Hostess
Penelope Wilton ... Janet Stone
Siobhan Hayes ... Check-Out Girl
Juliet Aubrey ... Young Janet Stone
Joan Bakewell Joan Bakewell ... BBC Presenter
Nancy Carroll ... BBC PA
Kris Marshall ... Dr. Gudgeon
Tom Mannion Tom Mannion ... Neurologist
Derek Hutchinson ... Postman
Samuel West ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 March 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,144, 16 December 2001

Gross USA:

$1,292,119
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kate Winslet's Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominated performance was the only one in the category not in a Best Picture nominee that year. See more »

Goofs

When John gets his coat caught against the chair at the pub, a boom mic can be seen in the mirror behind him. See more »

Quotes

Iris Murdoch: People have obsessions and fears and passions which they don't admit to. I think every character is interesting and has extremes. It's the novelist privilege to see how odd everyone is.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 74th Annual Academy Awards (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Cerisier Rose et Pommier Blanc
Music by Louiguy
Lyrics by Jacques Larue
See more »

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User Reviews

superior literary biography
12 October 2004 | by didi-5See all my reviews

This film, inspired by John Bayley's memoir in tribute of his late wife, the novelist Iris Murdoch, gives us some insight into the final years of Murdoch as she struggled with the effects of Alzheimer's Disease, and shows us how her personality developed from the quirky, intelligent student of her young days into the self-assured, measured writer at her peak.

Iris is played when young by Kate Winslet, whose portrayal veers from playful to irritating. As she grows older she morphs into the wonderful Judi Dench, giving a quite exceptional performance as the mature Murdoch. Playing John Bayley are two actors who uncannily resemble each other - Hugh Bonneville and Jim Broadbent. Broadbent was to win awards for his performance, and rightly so, although Bonneville was no less touching.

In a well-balanced supporting cast we have Penelope Wilton, Sam and Timothy West, Eleanor Bron, and Juliet Aubrey, giving assured performances.

Is 'Iris' truly a movie about a writer, and the business of writing and creativity? Well, no, as her writing is not central to the feel of the piece (although it does touch on her gift for words, and the tragic loss of the ability to process and work with them). It is something of a downbeat film, which will leave the more sensitive amongst you with damp eyes, but essentially it is an exceptional piece of work about the destructive power of dementia and Alzheimer's.


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