Whereas I watched Downfall (Der Untergang, Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2004) for the performance of one actor, Bruno Ganz, and not at all for its subject, Hitler—I watched Iris (Richard Eyre, 2001) not at all for the superb performances of Jim Broadbent and Judi Dench, but for information. I simply wanted to get some idea, if possible, what it's like to suffer from dementia.

The screenplay by the director (and one other) is based on the memoir by John Bayley, Iris Murdoch's husband, who is played by Broadbent in the film - and he is as good as it gets. Kate Winslet plays the younger Iris, but it's the older one who is the real subject.

Cf. Still Alice (Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland, 2014) another fine actress, Julianne Moore, in a film about dementia in a woman for whom access to functional memory is essential to their professional (and personal) identity.

Garry Gillard | New: 27 February, 2017 | Now: 2 March, 2017