Iris (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes


Iris (2001)



Critic Consensus: A solidly constructed drama, Iris is greatly elevated by the strength of its four lead performances.

Iris Photos

Movie Info

Based on a pair of memoirs by her husband John Bayley, this biographical portrait of writer Iris Murdoch stars both Judi Dench and Kate Winslet as the philosophical author at different stages of her life. When the young Iris (Winslet) meets fellow student Bayley (Hugh Bonneville) at Oxford, he's a naïve virgin easily flummoxed by her libertine spirit, arch personality, and obvious artistic talent. Decades later, little has changed as the couple (now played by Dench and Jim Broadbent) keeps house, with John doting on his more famous wife. When Iris begins experiencing forgetfulness and dementia, however, the ever-doltish but devoted John struggles with hopelessness and frustration to become her caretaker, as his wife's mind deteriorates from the ravages of Alzheimer's disease. Iris earned a slew of Supporting Actor awards for Broadbent, including recognition from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and National Board of Review. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

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Judi Dench
as Iris Murdoch
Jim Broadbent
as John Bayley
Kate Winslet
as Young Iris Murdoch
Hugh Bonneville
as Young John Bayley
Eleanor Bron
as Principal
Timothy West
as Old Maurice
Sioban Hayes
as Check-out Girl
Juliet Aubrey
as Young Janet Stone
Joan Bakewell
as BBC Presenter
Kris Marshall
as Dr. Gudgeon
Tom Mannion
as Neurologist
Samuel West
as Young Maurice
Saira Todd
as Phillida Stone
Juliet Howland
as Emma Stone
Charlotte Arkwright
as Young Phillida Stone
Harriet Arkwright
as Young Emma Stone
Siobhan Hayes
as Check-out girl
Matilda Allsopp
as Little Stone
Steve Edis
as Pianist
Emma Handy
as Older Maurice
Stephen Marcus
as Taxi Driver
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News & Interviews for Iris

Critic Reviews for Iris

All Critics (111) | Top Critics (40)

[The] performances, if nothing else, embody a standard of excellence that Iris Murdoch herself would surely have cheered.

February 28, 2002 | Rating: 3/5

The impoverished story keeps Iris from achieving greatness, but no qualifiers are needed for the acting.

February 26, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

For a movie whose subject is the decline and fall of a towering intellect, there's precious little to think about here.

February 23, 2002 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

There are not two, but four sterling performances here.

February 15, 2002 | Rating: 4.5/5

Not just a fitting document of a life brilliantly lived but a vibrant, almost palpitating piece of cinema.

February 15, 2002 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

...intrigues and devastates.

February 15, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Iris

Whilst the performances and cast we very good and well suited to each other, I feel like this is supposed to make Iris look like a great person who had a brilliant life but what I saw was completely to the contrary. They showcased Iris to be a selfish, horrible and uncaring woman who only has a sense of humanity when she becomes ill. Her poor husband John who she treated terribly should have left her the moment he met her. Really didn't enjoy this film at all.

Sophie Burgess
Sophie Burgess

Super Reviewer

Heart wrenching true story of the remarkable life of Iris Murdoch and her utterly devoted husband John Bayley. I found myself having flashbacks of The Notebook and of my own grandmother's spiraling decline into darkness. God damn Alzheimer's disease.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Each individual performance was influenced by the actual character, but personality leaked in undoubtedly. Judi Dench, so utterly amazingly, took on Alzheimer's without her usual grace, which not only surpirsed me, but made me respect her more. Winslet was her usual whimsical self, and Broadbent, the cooky man of the hour, put on the appearance of a man with little left in life. Beautiful, and scary, it would have been much better had they focused more on Iris' past, and less on her later years.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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