The Irish Independent
Reviewed by Sophie Gorman
January 31, 2002
Powerful performances and a sensitive script in Iris combine in such a powerful manner that the effect is almost unbearably moving. Shifting between a spirited young Iris Murdoch's early days at Oxford and the distressing onset of Alzheimers four decades later this is really the story of a 40-year love affair.
Based on husband John Bayley's memoirs, Elegy for Iris and Iris: A Memoir, director and co-writer Richard Eyre successfully captures the eccentric intelligence of one of England's most respected contemporary novelists. Eyre's greatest triumph, however, is in allowing the four performances at the heart of this tale to speak for themselves.
The fierce intensity and flamboyant promiscuity of Kate Winslet's young student is a perfect match for Judi Dench's understated terror as this inspired mind disintegrates uncontrollably. And the power of this woman is perfectly sustained by Jim Broadbent's and Hugh Bonneville's astonishing portrayals of her utterly devoted husband. His role develops over the years until finally he finds himself almost a parental figure to a fading Iris.
Highly recommended. SG