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Based on the William Kennedy novel of the same name Ironweed is set in the waning years of the Depression. Jack Nicholson plays Francis Phelan, a washed-up ballplayer (a onetime infielder for the Washington Senators) who deserted his family back in the 1910s when he accidentally killed his infant son by dropping him. Since that time, Phelan has been a shabby barfly, living from drink to drink; he spends his days palling around with Rudy (Tom Waits), with whom he works a motley series of jobs in exchange for a place to lay his head and an occasional jug of wine. Wandering into his hometown of… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Watching "Ironweed" is like having a large, metal object lodged in your brain for 2 1/2 hours. It hurts."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune
"At last, a real part for Nicholson to sink his teeth into."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Good performances, but If you're looking for an uplifting tale of hope against despair, look elsewhere."
‑ , Empire Magazine
"deftly done"
‑ Chris Seibold,
"The two leads put in startling performances to cut through [the] cynicism, but there's no levity or dramatic peak to elevate you from the misery."
‑ , Film4
"The film becomes becalmed and confusing; it lacks the novel's great unwavering trajectory."
‑ Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times
"Despite its nearly two-and-a-half-hour running time, its superstar cast and its $23 million budget, Mr. Babenco's ''Ironweed'' is skeletal, a mere outline of Mr. Kennedy's far more resonant book."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Dim, grim, and relentlessly depressing."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"A direção burocrática e auto-indulgente de Babenco e o roteiro sem foco desperdiçam as boas atuações de Nicholson e Streep."
‑ Pablo Villaca, Cinema em Cena
"Unrelentingly bleak, Ironweed is a film without an audience and no reason for being except its own self-importance."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Comes about as close to being an unmitigated waste of talent as any movie in recent memory."
‑ Hal Hinson, Washington Post
"...slow and crushing, a heavy film that has a simple plot, a despairing tone and none of the ostentatious "acting" often evinced in Nicholson's later career"
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Hector Babenco puts the accent on the story's spiritual dimensions in this screen translation of William Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
More reviews for Ironweed on Rotten Tomatoes