Cinema: Jim Broadbent

IRIS

It's a joy watching Jim Broadbent act. His W.S. Gilbert in Topsy-Turvy, the impresario in Moulin Rouge and, most delectably, the barmy aristocrat in A Sense of History (which he wrote) all suggest a beguiling expanse of personality. His work in Iris--as John Bayley, the Oxford professor who escorted his wife, novelist Iris Murdoch (Judi Dench), through Alzheimer's disease--adds tragic bafflement to the gifts on display in Broadbent's work. A Golden Globe nomination and laurels from two critics' groups have given the Englishman a new sensation: "I seem to be entering into the strange world of awards."

Playing a man some...

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