Kate Winslet is an undeniable genius when it comes to portraying complex female characters. She’s survived a sinking ship, erased memories, unrequited love, and much more.
One of my all-time favorite characters she’s played is Iris Simpkins, a lovable but heart broken British woman who is trying her best to move on from her ever-present ex, Jasper. Oh, it’s just a name I want to whisper yell: JASPER. She endures three years of his back-and-forth advances before booking a trip and getting the hell out of Dodge. And by Dodge I mean the picturesque English countryside. Whatever will make her feel better!
Here are all the reasons why I aspire to be her:
She has the cutest cottage in cinematic history.
Iris’s home is the coziest abode I have ever laid eyes on – the ivy, the fireplace, the tub – it is the quintessential English home that I need to find, and if not find, replicate. Director Nancy Meyers certainly knows how to tantalize her viewers with Martha Stewart-level houses.
She is willing to fly solo during the holidays.
It takes a whole lotta guts (and gumption) to travel anywhere by yourself, but the holidays?! That’s another level of independence. Iris leaves cuter than cute cottage, town, and brother to live in a stranger’s house (thankfully Amanda Woods is BFF material) in crazy glamorous L.A. Iris shows it is possible to go forth on your own, no matter how damaged your heart is.
She truly understands heartbreak…
Jasper has been toying with Iris’s heart for 3 YEARS, so she very familiar (too familiar) with that punched-in-the-gut feeling of someone not reciprocating strong feelings.
Iris: I understand feeling as small and as insignificant as humanly possible. And how it can actually ache in places you didn’t know you had inside you. And it doesn’t matter how many new haircuts you get, or gyms you join, or how many glasses of chardonnay you drink with your girlfriends… you still go to bed every night going over every detail and wonder what you did wrong or how you could have misunderstood.
…But she still won’t give up on love.
Things might not be working out with What’s-His-Name, but that doesn’t mean a relationship can’t blossom with someone else (SPOILER-Miles-SPOILER)! The key is time.
Iris: And after all that, however long all that may be, you’ll go somewhere new. And you’ll meet people who make you feel worthwhile again. And little pieces of your soul will finally come back. And all that fuzzy stuff, those years of your life that you wasted, that will eventually begin to fade.
She taught me what self-love really means.
It takes Iris a long time to realize that she doesn’t need Jasper’s love in order for her life to be complete – she needs her own. I’ve seen this movie more times than I can count, but it also took me a while to fully understand the importance of spending time alone and learning that I can make myself happy.
**Hailee Steinfeld’s “Love Myself” playing in the background**
That being said, she also showed me it’s OK to go through a mourning period, to just wallow in your sadness. You shouldn’t feel guilty about being sad — your heart was broken, that’s a big deal — but you should want to feel better. You deserve to!
And that you don’t always need to be on the look-out for the next guy.
Iris decides to get out of town (sorry, country) so that she doesn’t have to see Jasper or even think about men. Then comes Miles, sweet, funny Miles who composes a piano song for her (using only the good notes). While there’s no denying he’s an absolute catch, Iris recognizes that she needs to address the Jasper situation and feel sure of herself before moving on.
And most importantly, that BFFs can be found in the most unlikely people.
When Iris first sees Arthur, he’s shuffling by on a walker. She realizes there’s more to this older man than what meets the eye — he has life and love advice to give, and a list of must-see movies to rent. Their friendship is arguably the most adorable aspect of this movie (I see you, Jude Law, with your bookworm glasses and boyish grin…I see you).
Iris is a one-of-a-kind cinematic role model who can teach us all about relationships, self-love, and perfecting killer air-guitar skills.
(Images via Sony Pictures/Giphy)