Watch Iris

"Her greatest talent was for life."
  • R
  • 2001
  • 1 hr 32 min
  • 7.0  (19,134)
  • 76

Iris is a 2001 film based on the true story of the life of British novelist Iris Murdoch. The film features a star-studded cast including Judi Dench (playing the older Iris), Kate Winslet (playing the younger Iris), and Jim Broadbent (playing John Bayley, Iris's husband). The film's focus is on the relationship between Murdoch and Bayley, spanning from their early days as students at Oxford to their later life when Iris was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

The film's narrative structure alternates between two timelines: the younger years of Iris and John's courtship and early life together in the 1950s and 1960s, and their later years in the 1990s as Iris's mental faculties deteriorate due to her dementia. The film's portrayal of the couple's younger years is full of passion, clever banter, and intellectual discussions. They are portrayed as witty, playful, and deeply in love, despite their many differences in personality and outlook.

The film switches gears when it depicts the onset of Iris's dementia. In these later years, Iris struggles to recognize her husband, let alone carry on a coherent conversation. The juxtaposition between the two timelines is jarring, and it's clear that the film is attempting to make a statement about the fragility of love and the fleeting nature of memory.

Throughout the film, flashbacks are used to show us scenes from Murdoch's books, many of which depict vivid, erotic scenes of love and lust. These images stand in contrast to the stark reality of Iris's illness, and they serve as a reminder of the vibrant, intellectual woman that she once was.

The film's performances are top-notch, with Dench and Broadbent both delivering powerful and moving portrayals of their characters. Dench, in particular, is able to convey a range of emotions through her eyes and facial expressions, despite the fact that her dialogue is often limited due to Iris's dementia.

Winslet's portrayal of the younger Iris is also impressive, and she's able to bring to life the character's intellectual curiosity, wit, and charm. Her scenes with Hugh Bonneville, who plays Iris's lover, are some of the film's most electric, and they capture the essence of Murdoch's writing.

Overall, Iris is a film that's both beautiful and devastating. It's a tribute to the power of love and the strength of the human spirit, even in the face of overwhelming adversity. The film is not for the faint of heart, however, as it deals with heavy themes of aging, illness, and mortality. But for those willing to take the emotional journey, Iris is a film that's well worth watching.

Iris is a 2001 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 32 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0 and a MetaScore of 76.

Where to Watch Iris
Iris is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Iris for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 32 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (19,134)
  • Metascore