Stanley and Iris
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A recently widowed, Iris (Jane Fonda), unskilled middle class woman is forced to go to work at a baking plant. To make ends meet she rents out space to her sister and brother-in-law who have financial and marital problems as well. There is tension in the house and Jane's oldest child, a daughter, seeks escape through the company of boys resulting in an out of wedlock pregnancy. Making matters worse Iris had a good intellectual and healthy sexual relationship with her deceased husband. She misses him and visits the gravesite often. She feels and is weighted down by her life.
One day she has her purse stolen on the bus and gives chase to the thief who eventually gets away. Robert De Niro's character comes to her aid and finds her attractive. He walks her home and she discovers that he works as a cook at the company canteen. Eventually she figures out he can neither read or write and saves him from being accused of stealing canteen supplies by the plant owner. Unfortunately he gets fired because of his lack of literacy and she offers to teach him how to read which he declines.
Stanley's (Di Niro) financial position deteriorates and he is forced to leave his elderly father at an old age home. He enters in good health but dies shortly after admission. Di Niro realizes the death is in part due to his illiteracy and asks Iris to teach him how to read. They form a friendship which eventually leads to a romance. Iris is initial incapable of having one as she has not let her first husband go. In dealing with the problems that this causes between them she discovers Stanley's amazing genius for mechanical inventions which eventually lead him to an interview at a major car company in Detroit-far from where they both live now.
The story is well acted and moves along at a good clip. The ending is uplifting. Unlike many movies today dramatic tension is subtly and well portrayed. You need to pay attention to the details to thoroughly enjoy it.