While watching "Life Lessons", I noticed the particular way that Scorsese introduced the women throughout the film. Lionell Dobie's warped and obsessed view of Paulette put her up on a pedestal, romanticizing her as an unattainable ideal. I specifically noticed the way the iris effect was used to evoke this feeling throughout the film. I think these choices worked really well to express Lionell's mindset and unhealthy attachment to someone who doesn't love him back.
The first time Paulette appears on screen, the iris effect is used as a way to single her out from everyone else. The iris grows bigger and shrinks, giving a kind of warped point of view. Everything is in slow motion, creating a very dreamy and surreal atmosphere. It then cuts to very close up shots of Lionell smoking a cigarette, giving us access to him in that moment of obsession.
Another time the iris effect is used is when he is admiring her ankle after telling her she wanted to kiss it. This shot is cut back to 2 times, and a third time very quickly (maybe a millisecond) when she pulls the cover over it. It's obviously something that was not going to happen, but the iris effect lets us peek into a fantasy world that Lionell imagines for himself.
When he meets the new girl at the end of the film, it's another perfect example of a romanticized point of view. It quickly cuts to close-ups of her lips, neck, ear and fidgeting hands. Then it cuts to a wide shot of the entire room where everyone else disappears, and the iris effect closes in on just the two of them.