IronweedHD Closed Captioning
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About the Movie
Based on the William Kennedy novel of the same name Ironweed is set in the waning years of the Depression. Jack Nicholson plays Francis Phelan, a washed-up ballplayer (a onetime infielder for the Washington Senators) who deserted his family back in the 1910s when he accidentally killed his infant son by dropping him. Since that time, Phelan has been a shabby barfly, living from drink to drink; he spends his days palling around with Rudy (Tom Waits), with whom he works a motley series of jobs in exchange for a place to lay his head and an occasional jug of wine. Wandering into his hometown of Albany, New York, Phelan blearily seeks out his girlfriend and erstwhile drinking companion of nine years, Helen Archer (Meryl Streep), who has begun prostituting herself for drink and lodging. The two derelicts touch base in a mission managed by minister James Gammon, and later in Fred Gwynne's squalid gin mill. Over the next few days, Phelan takes a few minor jobs to support his habit, while his mind wavers between past and present.Eventually, a chance for a reconciliation with his wife (Carroll Baker) emerges. Directed by Hector Babenco following his enormous success with Kiss of the Spider Woman, Ironweed netted Oscar nominations for Nicholson and Streep.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 21
- Fresh: 13
- Rotten: 8
- Average Rating: 6.6/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Rotten: Despite its nearly two-and-a-half-hour running time, its superstar cast and its $23 million budget, Mr. Babenco's ''Ironweed'' is skeletal, a mere outline of Mr. Kennedy's far more resonant book.
Fresh: "Ironweed" is decent fare, not excellent. It gets by on the strength of the unexpected.
Fresh: Actors are said to like to play drunks, because it gives them an excuse for overacting. But there is not much visible "acting" in this movie; the actors are too good for that.
Fresh: Good performances, but If you're looking for an uplifting tale of hope against despair, look elsewhere.