Ironweed (1987)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: December 18, 1987
DVD Release Date: February 24, 2009
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Critic Score: 58% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

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

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.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Tribune

Watching "Ironweed" is like having a large, metal object lodged in your brain for 2 1/2 hours. It hurts.

Ángel Fernández-Santos
El Pais (Spain)

Misery is made into an esthetic. [Full Review in Spanish]

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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.

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Sheila Benson
Los Angeles Times

The film becomes becalmed and confusing; it lacks the novel's great unwavering trajectory.

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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.

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Empire Magazine

Good performances, but If you're looking for an uplifting tale of hope against despair, look elsewhere.

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Variety Staff

Unrelentingly bleak, Ironweed is a film without an audience and no reason for being except its own self-importance.

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TV Guide

Dim, grim, and relentlessly depressing.

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More reviews for Ironweed

Flixster Audience Score: 59% Flixster User Reviews
Carlos Magalhăes
It looks like it was made by anyone, since Babenco directs it without any passion or conviction and wastes Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep in a tiring narrative… More
John Ballantine
Nicholson and Streep simply just can't do it. What a tragedy for the finest actors of their generation. The script writer is at fault as this film bobs and… More
jay nixon
Brilliantly acted but profundly sad. A sense of gloom hangs heavily over the entire film.
Alec Barniskis
An utterly heartbreaking film about the people on the very fringe of society in the 1930s. It features one of the best performances Jack Nicholson has ever… More
Dean McKenna
William Kennedy's adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel turns into a showcase for Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, both playing skid-row… More
Erin Collins
I wasn't a fan. The acting was good, but the story was very depressing and a little slow-moving.