Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Iris and John
Watched the movie Iris last night, based on John Bayley’s memoirs about his life with wife Iris Murdoch, who suffered from Alzheimer’s in her last years. I started getting weepy halfway through and full-on sobbed at the end. It’s a beautiful, complicated love story. Bayley loved his wife to pieces from the beginning, and she loved him too, but was always at sort of an ethereal remove, for lack of a longer, better description. Also, at least in the film, he was a sort of dotty, awkward, funny, adorably goofy man all his life, and they were so cute together, especially older, that I can’t wait to be half of a dotty old couple. Anyway, it got me thinking about losing your mind, especially when your mind has been so extraordinary like that. I’ve always wondered about that, like, well, it would obviously suck to be aware of losing your mind, going in and out. But at a certain point, if you weren’t lucid enough to realize what was going on anymore, it seems like it would be much more painful for the people around you, as was clear from this film. Also, Bayley took care of her at home for probably longer than was a good idea, and their house fell to shambles because she’d always taken care of that, and taking care of her was a huge job on top of just keeping the house in order. And she wandered off for hours one time, and almost caused him to crash their car, which is pretty scary. Anyway, Judi Densch and both the men who played Bayley, young and old, were wonderful, especially Jim Broadbent as old Bayley – totally heartbreaking. Have tissues handy. But not Kleenex, they destroy trees and stuff.