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      Ironweed

      R Released Dec 18, 1987 2h 21m Drama List
      58% Tomatometer 24 Reviews 59% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings In Depression-era Albany, N.Y., erstwhile baseball star Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson) has become an alcoholic vagabond after guilt over accidentally killing his infant son led him to desert his family. Over the course of several days, he ambles from gritty job to dirty bar to makeshift sleeping quarters. By chance, he encounters fellow itinerant drinker and his sometime lover, Helen Archer (Meryl Streep). Together, they wax nostalgic about their haunted pasts. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      Ironweed

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      Critics Consensus

      Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep play masterfully off each, but Ironweed's unrelenting bleakness proves to be more monotonous than compelling.

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      Critics Reviews

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      John Pym Sight & Sound Perhaps the heart of the matter is the false lure of the original: some books, such as Ironweed despite strung visual incidents and an almost palpable sense of place, just do not translate to the screen. Jan 28, 2020 Full Review Ed Potton Times (UK) If you enjoyed Richard E Grant and Melissa McCarthy as on-the-skids New Yorkers in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, here's an even starrier example of Hollywood poverty porn. Rated: 4/5 Dec 3, 2019 Full Review Empire Magazine Good performances, but If you're looking for an uplifting tale of hope against despair, look elsewhere. Rated: 3/5 Dec 19, 2011 Full Review Ángel Fernández-Santos El Pais (Spain) Misery is made into an esthetic. [Full Review in Spanish] Apr 8, 2020 Full Review Cathy Burke United Press International Ironweed makes the sadness seem isolated and dangerous and unreal; it only exists where the bums live, it doesn't reach into the lives of good families. Nov 8, 2016 Full Review TV Guide Dim, grim, and relentlessly depressing. Rated: 1.5/4 Dec 19, 2011 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      john e Ironweed is a bleak and unsettling emersion into the lonely, desperate existence of an alcoholic, homeless couple living on the streets of Albany in the years following the Great Depression. It features the second on-screen pairing of Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, and it was released in 1987. Francis Phelan (Nicholson) is a former professional baseball player who is tortured by numerous events from his past. One of those events led him to abandon his wife and children over 20 years earlier. Since that time, he has simply wandered through life as a self-described bum. For a while, he found new love and housing with Helen Archer (Streep). Helen is a washed-up singer and musician who shares Phelan's love of the bottle, though she's reluctant to accept any blame for her current circumstance. Over the years, the two of them would sell off everything they owned in order to continue numbing their participation in life through alcohol. They now live day-to-day, sometimes together, sometimes apart. Both Nicholson and Streep give performances that are among the best of their careers (which would explain the Oscar nominations that both received for this film). The characters that they portray are people devoid of any self-respect, hope, or aspirations. This can make the film a difficult one to appreciate. The movie does not seek to provide excuses for the existence in which these characters currently find themselves, nor does it attempt to judge them. Director Hector Babenco simply unfolds the quite joyless reality that Francis and Helen trudge through, over and over again… as they remember days gone by, and have no reason to look forward to any days ahead. Streep is able to portray her character as one still having smarts, despite long ago abandoning socially accepted principles. She occasionally expresses brief glints of knowing things might be different… were it not for her lack of any strength to make it better. Her scene where she sings in a bar (both to a real and an imagined audience), and her scene praying in a church, are magnific. Nicholson is able to present Francis, flawed as he is, as a man who knows what a sense of honor is, even if he can't always maintain or achieve it. Two of his standout scenes anchor the tale's beginning (at the cemetery) and its conclusion (in the rental room with Streep). This isn't a film that attempts to provide a happy ending or a lesson to be learned. Rather, it unveils a few days in the lives of several people that most of us would rather not see… let alone devote a movie to. For that reason alone, I found this film extremely satisfying and worthy of more praise than was given to it by most critics. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review jonathan m I watched it from start to finish but I'd not watch it again I don't like Jack all too much Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review antonis k Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep do a pretty decent job with what is given to them, unfortunately tho the monotony and the story that is all over the place hurts the film more than fixing it. (3/10) Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review steve d It's too dark and melodramatic for me. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member Long ( two-and-a-half-hour running time) script that brings you into the world of homelessness and poverty during the great depression. Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep are brilliant (some critics say their talent was wasted here) but the direction and purpose of the movie escaped me. I went away thinking "but for the grace of God go I" but not sure of what I spent the time seeing. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/09/23 Full Review adam b Feels a slight bit too long but other than that, a solid pair of performances and a decent direction with a real gut-wrenching story Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      Ironweed

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      Cast & Crew

      80% 60% Cheaters 83% 70% Shot in the Heart 45% 46% Heartburn 59% 52% Plenty 60% 39% Bright Lights, Big City TRAILER for Bright Lights, Big City Discover more movies and TV shows. View More

      Movie Info

      Synopsis In Depression-era Albany, N.Y., erstwhile baseball star Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson) has become an alcoholic vagabond after guilt over accidentally killing his infant son led him to desert his family. Over the course of several days, he ambles from gritty job to dirty bar to makeshift sleeping quarters. By chance, he encounters fellow itinerant drinker and his sometime lover, Helen Archer (Meryl Streep). Together, they wax nostalgic about their haunted pasts.
      Director
      Hector Babenco
      Producer
      Keith Barish, Marcia Nasatir, Gene Kirkwood, C.O. Erickson
      Distributor
      TriStar Pictures, Columbia Tristar
      Production Co
      Home Box Office (HBO), Keith Barish Productions, TAFT Entertainment
      Rating
      R
      Genre
      Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Dec 18, 1987, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Sep 1, 2015
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      $6.9M
      Runtime
      2h 21m
      Sound Mix
      Surround
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