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Iris could have been a worthy if dull biopic. But with Judi Dench playing spiky novelist Iris Murdoch (A Severed Head), who is battling to save her final years from the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease, and Kate Winslet playing the free-spirited, bisexual young Iris, director Richard Eyre has struck gold. Twice. Dench and Winslet are a riveting matchup. But so are the actors playing John Bayley, Iris’ husband, who wrote the memoirs on which the film is based. Hugh Bonneville catches the naivet of the young John, and the underrated Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge) gives a performance so tender and finely observed that it takes your breath away.


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