Now that my wonderful friend Jan Bramlett has been laid safely to rest, I have finally summoned up the courage to watch "Iris," the definitive 2001 version (several have been made) that depicts the life and death of Iris Murdoch, the acclaimed British author.

Both of the actresses who portrayed this free-spirited intellectual, Kate Winslet ("Little Children" and "Finding Neverland") and Dame Judi Dench ("Ladies in Lavender" and "Casino Royale") were nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award that year, although neither won.

On the other hand, Jim Broadbent ("Vanity Fair" and "Bridget Jones' Diary") richly deserved his Best Supporting Actor statuette! As in real life, the major impact of Alzheimer's disease is on the family, not on the patient. Broadbent shows in heart-breaking detail the effects of the housekeeping burdens, the unspoken stress, the never-ending vigilance, the scattered thinking and ultimately the deterioration of his very life, as he nurses his beloved wife to her final days. She can't be trusted in the kitchen or she will set things on fire. She can't be trusted alone in the front room or she will go out and walk amid heavy traffic. She sometimes thinks he's a stranger and other times she thinks he's an enemy.

Dench is particularly effective for someone like me who has seen this disease first hand: she captures the confusion, the defiance, the fear, the juvenile responses, the tilt of the head, the flash of the eyes, the set of the chin which signals the increasing silence until no words are spoken at all. What a tragedy when Murdoch made her living from words!

Winslet shows us what an untamed young woman Iris was when she captivated young John Bayley during their college days. You see many scenes of their young adulthood together. He is always striving to measure up to her standards and she toys with him to the point you aren't sure if she is serious about him or not. Perhaps that was a through-line in their marriage...I don't know.

Suffice it to say, this is probably the most true-to-life depiction you will ever see of Alzheimer's disease and its effects on the patient and the family. It truly is "The Long Goodbye."