The opening scene of the documentary Iris sets up the bright and creative personality that embodies the main character. The first scene opens with Iris, a 93 year old fashion icon, showing off some of her fashion pieces. Although she is older and might move and talk a bit slower, what she has to say is interesting and humorous. We watch her match huge costume jewelry with colorful clothing. Matching and uniformity isn’t what drives Iris’ fashion choice, she goes with her gut feeling and what she believes to be stylish. This sets up Iris’ character because she isn’t afraid to take risks, she is confident with her decisions, and is happy with her life. Along with her admired reputation, she also has a cultured and interesting back story that shows how her fashion style and collection grew to where it is today. Her calm, witty, approachable personality makes the documentary interesting and fun to watch.
In the article “Review: In ‘Iris,’ Albert Maysles Explores Iris Apfel’s Style” by Manohla Dargis, I felt as though they were trying really hard to explain Iris’ personality that it sounded like they worshipped her to the point where they had a shrine in their closet dedicated to Iris. Although I agree that Iris is a great personality to explore in a documentary, the way Dargis expressed their feelings about Iris, was over the top. In the beginning they kept referring back to how amazing Iris was.
I enjoyed the documentary not only because of Iris’ great personality, but also her great story. The director made us feel as though we were with her during her interviews, and shopping adventures. His close shots, and also the longer time he spent on certain scenes made the film seem more down to earth vs. a fast paced commercialized documentary. Iris’ personality is so strong that you can imagine her going through life without a significant other, so when the scenes with her husband came around, it made her more grounded and more human. Her high praise and social status in the fashion world, made her seem unreal, incorporating the sweet relationship with her husband showed another side of her.
Overall, this movie did a great job at showing a captivating personality. Iris has had an amazing journey through life and Albert Maysles, the director, did an amazing job shooting it.