You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ironweed

Unrelentingly bleak, Ironweed is a film without an audience and no reason for being except its own self-importance. It's an event picture without the event. Whatever joy or redemption William Kennedy offered in his Pulitzer prize-winning novel is nowhere to be found, surprising since he wrote the screenplay.

With:
Jack Nicholson Meryl Streep Carroll Baker Michael O'Keefe Diane Venora Fred Gwynne

Unrelentingly bleak, Ironweed is a film without an audience and no reason for being except its own self-importance. It’s an event picture without the event. Whatever joy or redemption William Kennedy offered in his Pulitzer prize-winning novel is nowhere to be found, surprising since he wrote the screenplay.

The story of Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson) who returns to his native Albany in 1938 literally carrying a lifetime of ghosts with him is loaded with elaborate expository passages trying to account for why an obviously intelligent individual has abandoned his family for a bum’s life.

Phelan’s movement around Albany is like a passage through the rings of hell, but instead of coming out at paradise, he’s still the same old bum at the end.

Nicholson and Meryl Streep have approximately three scenes together and though they clearly have a great deal of affection for each other, they are beyond passion.

1987: Nominations: Best Actor (Jack Nicholson), Actress (Meryl Streep)

Ironweed

Production: Taft/Barish/Tri-Star. Director Hector Babenco; Producer Keith Barish, Marcia Nasatir; Screenplay William Kennedy; Camera Lauro Escorel; Editor Anne Goursaud; Music John Morris; Art Director Jeannine Oppewall

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 144 MIN.

With: Jack Nicholson Meryl Streep Carroll Baker Michael O'Keefe Diane Venora Fred Gwynne

More Film

  • Oscars 2016 Red Carpet Placeholder

    Oscars: 10 Live-Action Shorts Advance in Race

    Unrelentingly bleak, Ironweed is a film without an audience and no reason for being except its own self-importance. It’s an event picture without the event. Whatever joy or redemption William Kennedy offered in his Pulitzer prize-winning novel is nowhere to be found, surprising since he wrote the screenplay. The story of Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson) […]

  • The Black List

    Post-World War II Revenge Thriller 'Ruin' Leads 2017 Black List

    Unrelentingly bleak, Ironweed is a film without an audience and no reason for being except its own self-importance. It’s an event picture without the event. Whatever joy or redemption William Kennedy offered in his Pulitzer prize-winning novel is nowhere to be found, surprising since he wrote the screenplay. The story of Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson) […]

  • Rupert Murdoch Bob Iger Disney Fox

    Disney Nearing Finish Line With 21st Century Fox as Comcast Bows Out of Acquisition Hunt

    Unrelentingly bleak, Ironweed is a film without an audience and no reason for being except its own self-importance. It’s an event picture without the event. Whatever joy or redemption William Kennedy offered in his Pulitzer prize-winning novel is nowhere to be found, surprising since he wrote the screenplay. The story of Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson) […]

  • Ryan Lizza Fired

    CNN Suspends Ryan Lizza After New Yorker Cuts Ties for 'Improper Sexual Conduct'

    Unrelentingly bleak, Ironweed is a film without an audience and no reason for being except its own self-importance. It’s an event picture without the event. Whatever joy or redemption William Kennedy offered in his Pulitzer prize-winning novel is nowhere to be found, surprising since he wrote the screenplay. The story of Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson) […]

  • Steve Beeks Lionsgate

    Veteran Executive Steve Beeks Departing From Lionsgate

    Unrelentingly bleak, Ironweed is a film without an audience and no reason for being except its own self-importance. It’s an event picture without the event. Whatever joy or redemption William Kennedy offered in his Pulitzer prize-winning novel is nowhere to be found, surprising since he wrote the screenplay. The story of Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson) […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    'Endless Summer' Filmmaker Bruce Brown Dies at 80

    Unrelentingly bleak, Ironweed is a film without an audience and no reason for being except its own self-importance. It’s an event picture without the event. Whatever joy or redemption William Kennedy offered in his Pulitzer prize-winning novel is nowhere to be found, surprising since he wrote the screenplay. The story of Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson) […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content