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Movie Review: Iris

Story: Need a good cry? Then grab your tissues and a small bag of popcorn (to replace the salt lost from your system) and go see Iris. It is the encapsulated story of writer, philosopher Dame Iris Murdoch, who died in 1999. Director Richard Eyre's depiction of the mental slide and ravages of Alzheimer's has never been shown with such grace and pathos before. Based on the books by her husband John Bayley it is not much on detail but rich in acting and dialogue. Through flashbacks we see what vibrancy and the promise of youth holds compared to the nightmare of this disease for both the patient and the caregiver. The film, like A Beautiful Mind apparently leaves many of the more sordid details out of the story but I found nothing wrong with that. The main point of the film is strong. A woman who lived for words and thoughts loses the ability to communicate and her mind dies long before her body. It is powerful and worth your time. Any family who has gone through this should be forewarned about its truthfulness.

Acting: What can be said about Dame Judi Dench that hasn't been said before. She lights up the screen. Jim Broadbent (Topsy Turvy) as the older John Baylay is fabulous. Kate Winslet as the youthful Iris continues in her fine film choices and as the young John Bayley, Hugh Bonneville (Blow Dry) has to be the long lost clone of Jim Broadbent. The physical resemblance is uncanny.

Critters: A cat and a fox.

Food: Lots of tea and some gray English food.

Visual Art: The detail throughout the film is wonderful. Some small prints and drawings throughout their household.

Blatant Product Placement: Diet Coke and Telebubbies.

Opening Titles: A wonderful swimming sequence filmed through murky waters.

Theater Audience: A large mixed crowd with tissues.

Tissue Usage: Yikes!

Oscar Worthy: Yes. Dame Judi Dench should probably be in her own category for award shows. She is always deserving of praise.

Nit Picking: Nothing.

Big Screen or Rental: Depends on if you need that cry right away or want to save it for another day. But if you need to see Kate Winslet naked once again you should go see it now. If you want to see Kate Winslet naked in some of her other film, how about a rental weekend of some of her naked films, such as: Quills, Hideous Kinky, Holy Smoke, Heavenly Creatures, and of course the worst movie of all, Titanic.

Length: 90 minutes