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on 15 May 2007
Have you ever wondered what's it's like to be homeless? To most of us, it's as foreign an existence as the medieval world of Hugh Capet. And yet, it's a way of life that's within reach of all of us. And I'm not talking about its physical proximity, about the unfortunates we pass on the streets with their bed rolls on their backs: on the contrary, I'm referring to its spiritual, psychological proximity, to all the rest of us, who, given the right circumstances, could give up on our cheery Western materialist society and wander off into the shadows.

Ironweed takes its viewers into that shadowy world of the rail yards, cardboard shantytowns, underpasses, and abandoned automobiles, and shows us incisive glimpses of how a person arrives there. Featuring what I think are the very best performances by Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, Ironweed gets us deep into the sooty, grimy, bilious skin of the two `hobos.' Like Schindler's List, Ironweed is dark poetry. When the movie is over, you're haunted for days by the imagery.

Set in Albany during the Great Depression, Ironweed delivers not an ounce of moralizing. It's like a clinical exposition of the homeless person's entire life, both from without, and within. On the outside, of course, there's the Depression: a society doing the best it can to get by. From the `hobo's' point of view, one feels the implicit violence of a culture taught to view others as economic instruments of their own survival. The homeless, of course, are on the bottom end of the food chain. On the inside, Ironweed takes us into the intense pain of dashed hopes and expectations. From within and without, the homeless are caught in a whirling vortex that only grinds them down deeper and deeper into despair, the type that Kierkegaard's describes in `Sickness unto Death.' It's where intense poverty is not just physical, but spiritual.

This is a terrific movie; but, it's not for the faint of heart.
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on 11 April 2006
As someone in recovery I watched this movie and was deeply moved by the amount of identification I got. It brought home the depths that a person can go when trapped in a disease which many class as anti-social behaviour. The parts played by Nicholson and Streep were simply superb and how an Oscar was not forthcoming is beyond me. Why this movie has never been released on DVD can be only a matter of conjecture but I for one think that its true content may not be suitable for those that still want to doubt.
A must for anyone who has a bit of compassion and an education for those that haven't.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 August 2011
No question this is a five star film. The docked star is for the DVD.

Given the weak print and media reviews, I was shocked at how moving and
poetic this portrait of street bums in the 30s was.

Streep and Nicholson are both magnificent, but the whole supporting
cast is very good.

It has flaws - it's a little overlong, there the occasional heavy
handed moment. But it's also a deeply moving portrait of lost souls
trying to find meaning in a very cold world.

The big frustration is the DVD - for some reason it was released
full screen (4:3) and not in the original 1:85. That might have been
forgivable if the DVD had been released years ago, when that was a more
common practice, but the region 1 'Ironweed' - a visually stunning film - was
released in 2009! So there is no excuse for this inaccurate
presentation. I haven't found any version, from any country, with the correct
aspect ratio.
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on 31 March 2008
I am torn in reviewing this film: on the one hand, Meryl Streep puts in an incredibly high-quality performance as the once-affluent pianist and singer now (1938) forced to sleep in a wrecked car (with a man she does not even like and who sexually uses her) and find warmth in the local library; Jack Nicholson, as a similarly-homeless man, is also at peak. Both have been caught up in the Depression of the early 30's and never found the way back. Alcohol did not help, but of course, when people are cold and depressed they seek warmth and a lift in a bar...

Streep and Nicholson make this film a great showcase for their own talent and that of the director, cameraman etc.

The problem for me was that this film was very slow. The end result is that I have a lot of respect for the film, but no desire to sit through it again.
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on 8 March 2016
An unusual movie with two of the best film stars in hollywood...but a dam good movie to watch!
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on 1 March 2016
great book,as described,fast delivery
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on 7 July 2015
Fantastic entertainment - a classic.
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on 19 December 2014
exactly what I wanted
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on 26 December 2007
must admit not seen this film for several years now , but originally viewed at cinema on release . went with then girlfriend & ended up nodding off !!! . stangely enough girlfriend went on to become my wife , make of this what you want
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