The story couldn't be simpler, as it is about a little girl who is trying to get a bunch of blue flowers for her mother's birthday.
I am always ready to walk out of a move that I don't like, as I am not a subscriber to the attitude of suffering through a film to the end, just to "get your moneys worth". On the contrary, there is a great sense of relief and pleasure in escaping a dog of a movie. The drawback, however, is that I am sometimes too ready to walk out of a film before giving it a fair chance. That almost happened with Iris.
But what I did eventually appreciate was that the point of the film is a portrait of rural life in a small island somewhere near Sicily. We saw this largely from Maria's perspective, in her encounters with various adults. Each encounter was a separate small story about that person. The relationships between Maria and the rest of her family was also shown. She was a truly stubborn little girl, who bent her entire family to her will. But the story of the family was ultimately heart-warming, although never saccharin-sweet.
The children, Maria and her older brothers, were very natural and convincing, in their speech and behaviour. An example was how easily Maria was distracted from her quest for the flowers.
There were some nice cinematic touches, such as when Maria was walking through the market and the film was cropped to just above her head. This meant that all we saw of the adults was from the waist down, that is, from Maria's perspective.
One small gripe I have about this and a number of other Italian films I have seen over the years, is that the actors often seem to be shouting, judging from the volume and tone of voice. And this can occur, even when the dialogue doesn't seem to justify it. I don't know whether they are bad actors, or it is a particular cinematic style sometimes used in Italy, or whether Italians commonly speak like that.
By the end of the film I came to appreciate the simple and subtle pleasures of seeing the portrait of island life and Maria and her family.
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