An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene.
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Elderly and a virtual prisoner in her own home due to her concerned staff and daughter Carol, Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first woman prime minister, looks back on her life as she clears out her late husband Denis's clothes for the Oxfam shop. Denis is seen as being her rock as she first enters parliament and then runs for the leadership of the Conservative Party, culminating in her eventual premiereship. Now his ghost joins her to comment on her successes and failures, sometimes to her annoyance, generally to her comfort until ultimately, as the clothes are sent to the charity shop, Denis departs from Margaret's life forever. Written by
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Streep prepared for the role by spending months watching broadcasts of Margaret Thatcher, to learn her mannerisms and speech. She also spoke with dozens of people who knew her, including former Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, who faced Thatcher in the House of Commons for seven years. See more »
In the film, Labour leader Michael Foot opposes the decision to send a task force to the Falkland Islands, and Margaret Thatcher admonishes him in the House of Commons following Britain's victory over Argentina. Charles Moore's authorized biography of Thatcher clearly states that Foot supported her on the Falklands, and she emerged from the conflict with renewed personal admiration for him, despite their profound disagreements on most political issues. See more »
Meryl Streep gives a spectacular performance in a flawed, but great biopic
Before viewing, "The Iron Lady", I didn't really know much about Margaret Thatcher. Other than she was the prime minister of England for 11 years, she was a very controversial figure and still is to this day. So I was really interested to see the film and I decided to visit the WGA screening.
Now let me begin by saying, Meryl Streep embodies Margaret Thatcher. She doesn't just look like her, but she talks like her, her facial expressions are spot on. Meryl Streep becomes Margaret Thatcher. I would be shocked if she doesn't win an Oscar for this performance. The supporting cast is good too, Jim Broadbent gives an excellent performance, everyone is just great.
However aside from the top notch acting, the movie had a few flaws. The story was uninteresting at times, the flashback scenes were a bit muddled and a little confusing. The movie felt a little too safe, it tried too hard, not to be controversial. Although I don't entirely blame the film itself for that. Margaret Thatcher was such a decisive person, that whichever side the film picked, it would be criticized by a lot of people. I guess the film ultimately achieved the goal.
I also liked the movie didn't dwell too much on the politics, but on the character of Margaret Thatcher. We see the human side of The Iron Lady herself, beyond all the partisan politics and rumors, we get to see a very personal and sad side of her. The subplot focusing on Thacther's grief over her husband's death, as the older version battles with hallucinations and an unwillingness to let go of her dear Denis are heartbreaking.
Overall the movie was really well done, but just shy of greatness. Meryl Streep's performance and the supporting cast, truly elevates the film into a great biopic. Although I wished a little more time was spent on focusing on her political life, the movie successfully showed a deep and moving side of the prime minister. Which a lot of biopics fail to do. Whatever your opinions might be on Margaret Thatcher, don't fault the movie because of the opinion. And I highly respect Phyllida LLoyd, Meryl Streep, Abi Morgan and others for trying to portray such a decisive and highly controversial figure.
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