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Iris is one of the most heartbreaking love stories I have ever seen. As the film starts, we see a mature Iris Murdoch, and her husband John Bayley, at a university lecture, where we learn that she is "Dame Iris," a noted novelist, and a lecturer, and that her husband is also prominent. Shortly thereafter, as she is trying to complete what was to be her last novel, she begins to show the symptoms of the disease which would take her life, after years of suffering. So, shortly after the credits, we know that she is going to die at the end of the film of Alzheimer's. As a matter of fact, if we read the box, we already know that. The rest of the film alternates between the heart-wrenching progress of the disease and its effects on her, her husband, and their circle of friends, and the story of how they met and fell in love.

The reason she chose Bayley for her partner was really the entire point of the film. Although they don't hit you over the head with the answer, and don't even have an "ah ha" moment where everything becomes clear, the answer is there, and it is a simple one. He was in her circle of friends, and was intellectually adequate to be a companion, but was socially challenged and not very experienced. What she came to realize was that he accepted her completely and without judgment. With this complete acceptance, she could trust him with her most private thoughts. In a pivotal scene, she lets him read her first novel, something nobody other than her publisher had been allowed to do, and then states rather matter-of-factly that they should have sex. This is the moment he went from one of her companions to her lifetime partner.

We find out through the course of the movie that she chose wisely, as he did, in fact, stick by her long after most would have had her institutionalized. Shortly before the end, when she has had nearly no lucid moments in a long while, her eyes suddenly came alive, and she said, "I love you." Clearly, this is to emphasize the point that the story is really about love, not a terrible disease, or the life of a famous novelist/philosopher.

I think the film would be an easier watch if you see it as a docudrama about Alzheimer's. Certainly the effects of the disease on her are disturbing, all the more so because of who she once was. The portrayal of this disease was so accurate that the Alzheimer's Association gave their entertainment award to Miramax for this film. In the introduction at the award ceremony, they talked about what a frank portrayal of the disease it was, and then said, "and it isn't even about Alzheimer's ... it is a love story." In accepting the award, Jim Broadbent shared that he had lost his own mother to Alzheimer's, and offered a personal anecdote. Shortly before her death, when she hadn't been coherent for months, his sister said, "Mom, we just love you too much." The lights came on for the last time, and she answered, "You can't love someone too much." Seeing it as a love story, I was devastated by what her husband was going through. She, clearly, was the light of his life. His love was strong enough to stick by her to the end, but his source of strength, Iris, was mostly not there. Only Iris knows if she was suffering in the later stages of the disease, but Bayley had all, or at least most, of his faculties.

The film is great, but it won't please those hoping for a biopic, and is emotionally a very hard film to watch.


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  • Kate Winslet (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)
  • Penelope Wilton


    "Margarita Happy Hour"

    Margarita Happy Hour (2001) is an Indie that was screened at Sundance, where they evidently cut a DVD deal. I am glad they did. The film centers around Zelda (Eleanor Hutchins), living a bohemian lifestyle with her poet boyfriend and their baby in an Brooklyn apartment with dozens of other people, including her best friend who is recovering from an overdose. Zelda and her friends, all recent moms, meet for $2.00 Margaritas at a sidewalk bar for girl talk. They morn the loss of their exciting carefree lives, and discuss everything from lactation, to reduced sex drive after childbirth, to trying to get Medicare for their babies.

    Zelda does not have the ideal mate in Max, in that he goes out most nights, is not exactly a breadwinner (she does freelance illustrations for a porn mag to help), uses drugs, and tends to get into fights. She wants better for her daughter. Basically a character driven drama, this film will be understood by any woman who has ever given birth. The acting is incredibly genuine and believable. The story even has a surprise ending.

    IMDB voters say 6.5 of 10. Rotten Tomatoes has 78% overall, with the top critics at 83% fresh. It looks very good for what was clearly a low budget production, and managed to avoid being a melodrama, which it could easily have fallen into. Hutchins briefly shows a breast changing tops. Certainly not for everyone, but character driven drama fans intrigued by the subject should give it a try. C-.

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  • Eleanor Hutchins (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

    The Sweetest Thing might be called "Dirtier Dancing". Imagine if "There's Something About Mary" had been written by women. Sorry, no female nudity, despite the hyped "sexy never-before-seen footage" on the DVD. Not much of a movie, but I think it is one of my funnier reviews. Just don't let any women read it.

  • Cameron Diaz (1, 2, 3)
  • Christina Applegate
  • Selma Blair (1, 2)



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  • Hankster
    'Caps and comments by Hankster:

    Today it's a "Babe in Bondage" day as we take a look at a scene from 1973's "Beast with a Gun" with Helmut Berger terrorizing Marina Giordana, tying her up then ripping open her dress and doing some pretty nasty things.So be warned the last few caps are pretty intense.If you like action & violence not a bad movie as Helmut is a very convincing bad guy. One person at IMDB called it the best movie ever. I don't think I would go that far.

    • Marina Giordana (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

    Agathe de La Boulaye
    (1, 2)

    Brief breast sightings in two movies.

    Anne Aort Breasts and bum in scenes from "Les Vacanciers" (1974).

    CÚcile Pallas Topless in scenes from "Un si joli témoin"

    Julie-Anne Roth Excellent full frontal nudity.

    Mireille Delunsch Topless in "Les Contes d'Hoffmann".

    Kelly McGillis The "Top Gun" babe going topless in scenes from "The Monkey's Mask".

    Konstanze Breitebner Rear nudity, plus frontal views seen through a shower curtain on German TV.

    Susie Porter
    (1, 2)

    Topless in both, a hint of pubes in #2. Vidcaps from "Better Than Sex".

    Susie Porter
    (1, 2)

    All 3 B's plus a little lesbian lovin' in scenes from "The Monkey's Mask".

    Britney Spears
    (1, 2, 3)

    Britney in her undies in scenes from "Crossroads".

    Flower Edwards
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

    The cute, petite Skinemax babe gettin' it on in scenes from "Fast Lane to Vegas" (2000).

    Edie Falco
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    The Soprano's co-star nude in very rare scenes from the obscure movie "Trouble on the Corner" (1997). Breasts, bum and possible bush sightings in link #4. A great find by Señor Skin.

    Brooke Burke
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    The host of E!'s "Wild On..." series posing in skimpy outfits with plenty of cleavage.