"Bittersweet and effective 'fly on the wall' melodrama"
With lesser actors on display, I shudder to think at how shrieky and pandering this production could have become. Fortunately, this one stars Laura Linney and Gena Rowlands.Some movies offer a smattering of quality moments yet are made immeasurably better due to some especially strong acting. Such is the case in the made-for-cable drama Wild Iris; with lesser actors on display, I shudder to think at how shrieky and pandering this production could have become. With Laura Linney and Gena Rowlands, you know that at the very least you're going to see two great actresses. Luckily, Wild Iris offers even a little more than that.
Iris Bravard is a sad-sack seamstress with a nasty drinking problem. Iris lives with her preteen son and her resoundingly overwhelming mother, and the three of them toil away making bridal gowns for the local townswomen. Matriarch Minnie has a positively sunny attitude...as long as her daughter is around to berate. Young Lonnie (Emile Hirsch, in a great little performance) often finds himself playing peacemaker between his mother and grandmother, and his social life is an even bigger shambles. All in all, not a happy household.
So what makes this trio worthy of ninety minutes? Well, the superlative acting performances alone are worthy of your time (precisely when did Laura Linney become one of America's finest actresses?), but the insightful screenplay may seem plucked right out of your own living room. How could these people spout such nasty things at one another without flying into a murderous rage? They're family, and families scream.You may figure out where this one's headed early on (I sure did), but that won't prevent you from enjoying it. Linney and Rowland go toe to toe several times, and the result is truly satisfying. Hirsch and Miguel Sandoval offer heart and humor, and the whole thing ends on a fittingly bittersweet note. All in all, a solid cable drama.