Iris

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I never thought I could be so entertained watching an old lady shop, and haggle at swap meets. It certainly wasn’t fun when I was with my grandmother and she did it, but then…she wasn’t a 93-year-old fashion icon, either (although they both seemed to have similar taste in costume jewelry and bracelets the size of hula-hoops).

Documentarian Albert Maysles (Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens, Salesman) passed away a few months ago (at 88), and thinking about that makes you cherish watching Iris and her husband (who turns 100 during the filming), go about their day. It’s also sweet watching the few moments she acknowledges Maysles during the filming.

I wasn’t familiar with the big names in fashion that sang her praises (Pries von Norten), other than photographer Bruce Weber. When he and an editor at Architectural Digest talk, it’s okay. I just didn’t want a bunch of talking heads. I’d rather they delve into more about her, or what inspires her.

Iris has been married for 66 years. We see her wedding photos, and such a radiant smile in all the pictures. So tell us more about her! Now, if the documentary had manipulated the narrative a certain way to show something else, perhaps that would’ve been disappointing, too.

It was fun listening to this older couple show they still had a quick wit. With those huge round glasses and self-deprecating wit, it was like watching a female George Burns (note to self: Find out why the fashion industry is so fond of big, round glasses?).

It was fun listening to Iris give some words of wisdom. She’s against plastic surgery…unless you have a nose like Pinocchio. She says everything will come back in style (I’m guessing she hasn’t seen my leisure suit from the ‘70s, or parachute pants and Members Only jacket from the ‘80s). In fact, I felt kind of guilty watching this movie wearing a raggedy Doors T-shirt and Nike shorts.

When she talks about her mom giving her advice during the Depression (a black dress can be accessorized), it made me want to hear her tell more about her life. Sure, it’s cute watching her walk the streets of New York and acting spunky with everyone she meets. It’s also refreshing that she isn’t grouchy.

The documentary came off too much as a puff piece and often times got repetitive. There’s only so many times you can watch her laying out jewelry or going through closets and warehouses. You do wonder how she can possibly remember all the stuff she has. I spent two days looking for a Pink Floyd T-shirt in my closet last month.

All that being said, I was glad I got to spend 75 minutes watching an adorable love story (the close-up of them holding hands was priceless).

It’s always worth being introduced to interesting characters in a documentary.

This gets 3 stars out of 5.

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