Ironweed

  • 1987
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama

IRONWEED is dim, grim, and relentlessly depressing. Set in Albany, New York, in 1938, it also flashes back to 1916 and 1901 as it seeks to establish Jack Nicholson's character, Francis Phelan, an ex-Washington Senator infielder. He deserted his family 22 years earlier when, slightly tipsy on four beers, he dropped his infant son, cracking the child's head...read more

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IRONWEED is dim, grim, and relentlessly depressing. Set in Albany, New York, in 1938, it also flashes back to 1916 and 1901 as it seeks to establish Jack Nicholson's character, Francis Phelan, an ex-Washington Senator infielder. He deserted his family 22 years earlier when, slightly tipsy

on four beers, he dropped his infant son, cracking the child's head and killing him. Now Phelan and cohort Rudy (Tom Waits) work at odd jobs to earn some money for a jug of wine and a place to flop. Helen Archer (Meryl Streep), who has been his girl friend for the past nine years, gives sexual

favors to anyone who will give her a place to sleep or a drink. The picture is a Depression-era version of THE LOST WEEKEND with a bit of 1987's BARFLY added. For a few flickering moments, we care a bit about the people, but then it's gone. There's little plot, and the picture is far too long and

fraught with allegory. Director Hector Babenco's sense of style is evident, but a sharper editing eye would have helped. The acting is universally good in IRONWEED with a special nod to Waits. Streep and Nicholson received Oscar nominations for their roles, but lost to Cher for MOONSTRUCK and

Michael Douglas for WALL STREET.

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  • Released: 1987
  • Rating: R
  • Review: IRONWEED is dim, grim, and relentlessly depressing. Set in Albany, New York, in 1938, it also flashes back to 1916 and 1901 as it seeks to establish Jack Nicholson's character, Francis Phelan, an ex-Washington Senator infielder. He deserted his family 22 y… (more)

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