Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stanley and Iris

Stanley and Iris; Romantic drama, USA, 1990; D: Martin Ritt, S: Jane Fonda, Robert De Niro, Swoosie Kurtz, Martha Plimpton

Even after 8 months, the hard working Iris is still mourning after her deceased husband. When a burglar steals her purse, she meets the quiet Stanley who tried to help her. Stanley is a cook who serves the workers in the large bakery Iris works in. Her sister lives with her because they are poor while her daughter is pregnant. When Stanley gets fired because he is illiterate, he turns to Iris who learns him how to read and write. And they fall in love.

The last film by director Martin Ritt was the admirable romance "Stanley and Iris": it's a matter of a quality film that never for a moment stops to be interesting or opposed to kitsch and pathetic cliches, except maybe in the sequence where Stanley's father dies or in the ending that fails to reach the level of the movie as a whole. It's a tad too conventional, but refreshingly old fashioned, calm and quiet movie where Ritt showed his collective knowledge, and it shows: every event is developed to the smallest detail so that the viewers get the feeling they actually live in that town and know the characters for a long time. Namely, the characters, though simple and "ordinary", ended up three dimensional and really well developed, while Ritt limns every character with a special mentality. Jane Fonda appeared in her last role before she took a 15 year old break from acting while Robert De Niro once again achieved a masterful role as the restrained Stanley.


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