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The Humanization Of Margaret Thatcher by Meryl Streep
M. J Arocena30 December 2011
Biopics are always a problem. That's why the long form, HBO style is infinitely more suitable and altogether more satisfying. Okay, now, once that aside, let me talk about Meryl Streep. A miracle! She does the impossible, not only manages to inhabit Thatcher, she also reveals her under a slightly different light. The human light. No matter how much at odds I've been with her politics, I saw that human side through Meryl Streep's eyes and realized that I had forgotten to remember, Thatcher was a human being, a woman breaking ground. She loved her husband but put her career first, as most men in her position do. Her drive is a mystery as much a mystery as Meryl Streep's art. After seeing the film, me, a life long anti-Thatcher, I have to say that it's a fair portrait of the woman. The ones who never heard of Margaret Thatcher, and there are, two of them were sitting next to me in theater, I think they thought "The Iron Lady" was the female version of "Iron Man" but even them surrendered to the character trough the glories of this other giant of our generation, Meryl Streep.
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Streep is mesmerizing, the film is not.
Troy_Campbell27 December 2011
There's no doubt about it: Meryl Streep will be nominated for her 17th Academy Award for her portrayal of Britain's most controversial Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, in this otherwise underwhelming biopic. Streep is mesmerizing as usual, but the mode of storytelling employed by screenwriter Abi Morgan and director Phyllida Lloyd – sporadic flashbacks among elongated stretches of following the elderly and mentally fragile Maggie – is a huge misfire. The scenes which recount her path from young adulthood through to local politics and then to her 11 years of turbulent leadership are intriguing, however they are too far and few between to really grip. Sure, it checks off the list as far as famous moments go, but a more in depth insight into how she ran the country would've been nice.
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Meryl Streep gives a spectacular performance in a flawed, but great biopic
Grey Gardens30 November 2011
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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Meryl's good but the film isn't - disappointing biopic of Margaret Thatcher.
Jonathon Dabell12 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
In purely cynical terms, one has to wonder if the makers of The Iron Lady wanted to release a film about old age and senility but were warned that such a sombre topic would never perform well at the box office. You can almost imagine some studio executive saying "no, no, no, we can't possibly promote that sort of movie. Unless you make it about someone famous… that would make people go and see it." Although advertised as an account of the life and political career of Margaret Thatcher, the film doesn't come close to doing justice to such a vast topic. Instead we get a whistle-stop tour of key events – five minutes of the miners' strike, five minutes of the Brighton bombing, three minutes about Poll Tax, and so on. The nearest the film gets to real depth, politically-speaking, is when it devotes fifteen whole minutes of precious screen time to the Falklands War.

No, this is not a true political biopic in the usual sense. What we have here is a thin and rather dull story about an old lady's deteriorating health, punctuated along the way with flashbacks to the events that shaped her career. The fact that the old lady in question is Margaret Thatcher comes across almost as a gimmick. They could have made the film about any elderly lady, fictional or real - it would scarcely have mattered. All the important aspects of Thatcher's policies and the legacy her government left behind are dealt with in far too shallow a manner, while any insight into Thatcher as a person gets lost amidst an onrush of excessive newsreel footage. Indeed, it seems as if 25% of the film comprises of these old archival bits and pieces, which really is a case of overkill.

Since the narrative amounts to nothing more than a series of jerky flashbacks, all superficial and absurdly brief, one wonders if there is any reason to watch the film at all. Fortunately, there is one aspect of The Iron Lady that shines like a glowing beacon through the gloom – and that is the marvellous performance of Meryl Streep. Streep's portrayal of the former Prime Minister is a masterclass in screen acting. The voice, the mannerisms, the physical appearance, the haughty attitude… she nails it all. There are some notable names alongside her in the cast too, but generally they are in sub-par form. In some cases they're undone by poor writing, like Jim Broadbent's cartoonish "ghost of Dennis Thatcher", while others simply have too little screen time to get their teeth into the part (Richard E. Grant for example who, as Michael Heseltine, is so under-used that he simply fails to register).

Some might say the film has been made a generation too soon, since the scars of Thatcherite politics still run deep in many parts of the UK. Nonetheless, a controversial but powerful biopic could and should have resulted here if anyone associated with it had shown the courage to take a standpoint. Timidly, the film neither celebrates nor condemns Thatcher. It wimps out by presenting its entire story through the eyes of her as a mentally fragile old lady, thereby avoiding the need to "take a side". All in all, The Iron Lady is a missed opportunity. Streep's performance drags it up to the level of a watchable curiosity item but that's about the best it can offer.
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Historically Inaccurate.
Pete Baggett8 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Although Meryl Streep's performance was truly brilliant, the film was not.

The switch from now to past events and back again didn't seem to follow any logic and everything seemed to be treated in an over superficial manner. There are a few substantial historical inaccuracies with regard to the Labour Party.


Far too many newsreel clips are used from the actual time, superimposed by Mrs Thatcher's car being mobbed by angry protesters. At no point were protesters ever able to get that close to the PM's car and such incidents showing people actually pressing up against the car are entirely fictitious.

The leader of the opposition is incorrectly shown as Michael Foot during the Heath government, when he didn't become leader of the party until after Labour's defeat in 1979. The actual leader was Harold Wilson who isn't even portrayed in the film.

During Margaret Thatcher's time as the Leader of the Opposition, Harold Wilson was Prime Minister, resigning in favour of James Callaghan who actually lost the election to Mrs Thatcher in 1979. Again omitted by the film.
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Film is just good, but the lead performance is breathtaking.
Richard Smythe-Villiers13 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
An old lady, complaining about the price of milk per pint, perfectly normal, especially with the recent inflation of staple goods, that is unless you know, or until you realize that it's Margaret Thatcher. It is a particularly touching scene, a crafty way of subliminally telling us about how she was in-touch with society, in touch with the lives of her constituents, of the people. Back in Chester Square, security is upset that she went out alone, 81 and suffering from Dementia, one shouldn't go out unsupervised, especially the most famous ex-prime minister of the recent century. We see Thatcher conversing with Dennis, who died in '03, and now lives in Margaret as a ghost, we see her cleaning out Dennis's old clothes at Carol's prompting, with flashback, after flashback, giving us a chronological tour of her life, from Greengrocer's Daughter, to a true Iron Lady. It is a beautifully crafted film, however the flashbacks do get repetitive, and could've had more depth, and explored more of her life. It seems as though the film can't really seem to decide what to focus on, and goes for a little bit of everything. It gives us however, a slightly boring at times, but beautifully shot film that embodies, and exudes emotion, and loss, it truly does tell a story of a woman, and what she sacrificed for her country, and for the common, greater good. The star of the film however, is none other, unsurprisingly than one Mary Louise Streep. She kills the film, and elevates it to a whole other level. You see her full of vulnerability with the age, and at points she is so believable, I couldn't believe it was an actress, and not the real Thatcher. But, in her glory day you see her change, from the rise, and the softer higher voice she was so often criticised and heckled for, to the alcohol roughed, and experience voice of the PM, the softer interview, statesman voice, to the home voice, all perfect, and spot on. She isn't just a caricature of Thatcher, for the 2 hours of the film she is Thatcher, pearls, and all. She channels Thatcher's essence, and gives us scenes such as her final stand, where she is in Paris the night of the fateful Conservative Leadership election, which forced her to stand down. As she stands there in Paris, we see a woman who is very much in control, yet also on the verge of sickness, and losing control. We see a scene where she is haunted almost by Dennis's ghost as she says something along the lines of not going mad is breathtaking, that it defines the pinnacle, of acting, and thespian chops. This performance will be regarded as the pinnacle of acting, dethroning Sophie's Choice in 1982, giving us our next Best Actress winner. Who'll be sure to be seen many times more as a nominee, and a winner in the future. Congratulations to the 3 time Oscar Winner Meryl Streep, the 84th Academy Award's Best Actress in a Leading Role. Film itself 8.5/10, Meryl Streep 12/10 Averages out to a 9.
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More like an understanding Alzheimers educational video than a movie
thepreppygrape13 January 2012
Meryl Streep's performance in this movie was phenomenal. Unfortunately the movie (if you can call it that) was not. If you want to go see a movie about the life and career of Margaret Thatcher do not waste your time. If you want to see an elderly woman struggling with dementia for 2 hours then this is your movie. The movie barely goes over Thatcher's rise to prime minister or her personal life. Instead 80% of the movie focuses on Thatcher's current health state, only showing her confused and disoriented. The movie does a few 5 minute flashes to her past but it probably only amounts to about 25 minutes. Finally I find it despicable that instead of highlighting Thatcher's achievements, Hollywood choose to exploit her dementia a condition she has kept from the public and tried to be extremely private about.
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A Human In The Storm
John Corda18 February 2018
One spent so much time detesting Margaret Thatcher's policies and its consequences that one forgets she was a human being. Silly isn't it? Yes, but true. Now Meryl Streep, with all her powers, reminds us. Mrs Thatcher was a real person, a real woman and no matter how much we disagree with her we cannot dismiss her. Meryl Streep makes sure of that. Her performance is an extraordinary piece of art and I have the feeling that it will grow in meaning and scope as time goes on. The humanity of the actress at the service of a political icon that thought that it didn't matter what people felt but what they thought as if the two were mutually exclusive. Thank you Meryl Streep, you've done something that my grandchilden's grandchildren will benefit from.
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Truly disappointed and quite angry
Mark B28 December 2011
This film had so much potential to open peoples eyes to one of the most influential politicians of the time and all it does is focus on an elderly persons slide into dementia.

Approximately two thirds of the film is spent on the post 2003 era (post Dennis Thatchers death) with Thatcher wandering round her flat, talking with her daughter, hallucinating about Dennis, throwing clothes out etc etc. Not only is this thoroughly depressing but it is also so frustrating as you are forced to sit through Streep doing her "I want an Oscar, I want an Oscar" sales pitch.

There were so many highly charged/globally reported moments and periods throughout her prime minister-ship which were just brushed over or completely skipped - the poll tax (which attracts about 5mins of the film), the miners strikes (less than 5 minutes), the Iranian embassy siege (no mention of at all), the Falklands war (maybe 15 minutes but deserved so much more), the policy of privatisations (minimal), and crucially the impact her leadership had on the country (nothing). And this is before raising the events that developed her into the women she was - all that is provided here is a few flashbacks to her father speaking in public. There is no real mention of her fight for the leadership, nothing on her career before politics, and very little about her developmental years (university etc).

In summary it just seems this film was out to try and get in the running for as many Oscars as it could and they didn't care if they screwed any one over to get there.

Not only is Margaret Thatchers retirement private but her declining health should not be used as an opportunity for someone to get in the running for an Oscar. Have some respect!

If they were after a film which created an emotional reaction they certainly succeeded.
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Extremely disappointing......
Gail Martin7 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
*Contains Spoilers* Just been to see The Iron Lady and was sorely disappointed with the film from start to finish. The main reasons for me were because.....

The majority of the film is centred around Margaret Thatcher in her later years and how she is coping with life without her husband, Denis, and with onsetting memory loss and ill health. I was looking forward to getting more insight into her time in politics as Prime Minister. Unfortunately the focus is simply not there and felt in short supply in terms of screen time for when these were broached.

The little time that there is reference in the film to some of the major events (riots, Falklands, IRA, Brighton bombing etc) these are always associated with real footage, and these simply did not work for me. The juxtaposition between shots of Margaret & her entourage versus the real footage is so jarring as to feel almost amateurish in my opinion.

I'm not going to make any comment on the actual politics of Margaret Thatcher (everyone will have their own feelings on 'MT' as a person & as a politician), but interestingly there seemed to be a real reluctance in the film to do this either. There was no full exploration of the good v the bad in terms of Margaret's behaviour or decision-making / the real political successes v the real political failures etc. I suspect there was a lot of 'smoothing over' of some of the events when the hard-hitting facts would have made for a far more interesting watch.

Sadly, I only have to compare The Iron Lady to The Ides of March to see how much of a disappointment The Iron Lady is and what a wasted opportunity to make an exceptional film about a well-known Brit. Whether Meryl Streep's performance will land her an Oscar, we'll wait and see, but to me there seems something a bit incongruous with someone winning a best actor/actress award off the back of such a poor film overall. Sorry Meryl - loved you in It's Complicated!
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Wrong, Highly Unethical Concept
vespet20007 February 2012
It's simply wrong to make a biographical film about a person, as extraordinary as Margaret Thatcher and devote, I don't know, 70 or 80% of the time to her rather depressing late years of deteriorating health, especially on the mental side. And the real life Margaret Thatcher is a rather private person who tried to keep her health problems secret. Thus, most of what this film presents is obviously a piece of guesswork. Moreover, Thatcher's children described the film as "left-wing fantasy" and we also know that Thatcher's daughter Carol was often with her during this period. So, what's the point of a film, that pretends to be "biographical" when 80% of it is guesswork at best, and somebody else's fiction at worst?

It is also highly unethical to delve into the mental condition of a living person who tried and tries to keep her private life and health issues really private. There are reasons why we call it "private" and doctor-patient confidentiality "confidential". It seems like those principles are beyond the intellectual (moral, or both) capacity of the Hollywood suits behind this movie.

Thatcher became a household name, not only in the UK, but throughout the world, and yet, all her political achievements are presented in a telegraphic style, sometimes just as segments of a news bulletin read by some news presenter. She was called 'the iron lady' by the Soviet propaganda machine in an attempt to discredit her image, her strong positions and alliance with Reagan formed the core of the entire Western policy toward the Soviet union resulting in winning the Cold War, and yet, the authors of this movie choose to completely disregard this side of her story, as if this was some annoying mosquito, just spoiling the bizarre shadenfreude fun they are having with the senile, 80-year old lady.

Thatcher herself is adamant during one of her fights with her husband that he always knew she puts her works first and yet, the film tries to focus on her private life issues, again, by means of sheer guesswork. Why? The only explanation is ideological spin, since the creators try to present the old and rather frail former prime minister as sad, doubting her past, and in some scenes she is even insecure not only as an old, senile lady, wandering around her digs, but also during her prime time, as a head of government. Priceless screening time is wasted while none of the issues she had to deal with is presented with any depth whatsoever.

Occasionally, the film is reduced to a vaudeville, as in the scene where she is about to enter her No.10 residence for the first time as a PM or employs one-dimensional clichés, such as the symbolism of Thatcher talking about 'taking the wheel in her own hands' and then pushing the car to the right, while her daughter is in the driving seat. What is the purpose of this demented symbolism? No matter how unwashed the masses are, they can still figure that this film is about a confident, self-made woman who takes matters in her own hands and pushes her country to the right. Why an obvious metaphor, pointing at the obvious?

The only true merit, that can be attributed to this unhinged and rather prolonged exercise in shadenfreude, is that it represents the true spirit of her public life in general – a strong-willed, principled person, a woman with SPINE, successfully fighting against an intellectually and morally constipated establishment, unhinged left-wing militants and impotent political opposition. Well, the political opposition turned out impotent because it was Margaret Thatcher who single-handedly rendered it that way. There are some truly powerful moments, however, when the young Margaret was listening to her father's speech, clearly, his words having authoritative, formative, inspirational influence on what she was about to become, or when she masterfully fights off the attacks of both her political opponents and spineless colleagues.

Obviously, Meryl Streep is a very good actress, and she is spot on Thatcher's voice and mannerisms, but this is just good professionalism, nothing extraordinary, way too many actors are capable of doing that these days. Does she deserve another Oscar for this performance? If there is nothing better this year on the movie front in her category, hell yes.

The only reason this picture should be seen is as a weird example of how a biopic (of a person of Margaret Thatcher's caliber) should not be made,it's a half-baked distraction of what her real biography should look like .
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Sorely Disappointed
Dan Hegelund30 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Meryl Streep did great, off course, but the manuscript was the worst imaginable. I came to see a movie about Margaret Thatcher's life. Instead they produced a movie about an old lady's dealing with the loss of her husband. Shame on the producers. Shame, shame, shame.

The beginning of the movie starts with Margaret Thatcher at old age. Fine, I thought. Soon they will cut to a flash back and tell the story of her life. Nope. No such luck. The middle and the end was also about Margaret Thatcher's old age. Admittedly with glimpses of flash back. But the producers were evidently much more interested in telling the story of her last days, than the story of her life. A better title would have been, "The Death of Margaret Thatcher".

I look forward to someone else making a movie about Margaret Thatcher's LIFE. And by all means choose Meryl Streep again, cause she IS a great actress.
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A wonderful study of declining years.
Nigelees10 February 2012
I watched the Iron Lady last night and quite frankly I am amazed at some of the reviews which state that the film is a disappointment despite an outstanding performance from Meryl Streep. Firstly, I really don't think that this film is about politics and naturally all those who viewed it expecting to see a retrospective of Margarets time as PM would be disappointed. But the film is about life. All of us could,in time , suffer in the same way. The film is clearly about the ravages of old age on a person who literally was a giant among men. She had to fight at every turn for her principles and whether you agreed with them or not she had more courage than most. The greatest compliment I can make about this film is that from the first few minutes I was not watching Meryl Streep but Thatcher herself as her performance is truly amazing. It isn't the fact that it is an impression as some have said it is the subtle nuances - movement of the head, a slight cough, a look etc. It isn't surprising that she has been Oscar nominated for this performance and in my view she will win hands down. If you want to see a well constructed study of life in decline go see this film but if you're looking for a biopic of her life in power don't bother.
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sarahmajella040226 December 2011
I am so disappointed in the film and in the widely talked up performance of Meryl Streep.

This movie was politically shallow, and to think of all the material they had to work with. Sigh......

What a unique, substantive pioneering individual MT was - yet this movie managed to provide no political substance nor enlightenment into the personal struggles and achievements this woman managed to deliver and experienced throughout her journey as the first female leader of a country which at the time was one of the most patriarchal, class based, yet economic leaders of the western world.

It amounts to nothing more than a sexist, try hard attempt at personal biography. Delivering little more than a document on the ravages and sadness that accompanies this vile disease of Alzheimer's.

Where is Stone or Spielberg? This ground breaking woman deserved so much more..........
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Absolute rubbish.
haroldfinley25 December 2011
I just watched The Iron Lady tonight (a private screening - shhhh!) and it's terrible. I mean really dreadful. We were all left aghast at just how inept the film is and what a wasted opportunity. They don't have a central story to hang the film on, so it's just a bunch of moments, not very well told. I fell asleep about four times and my friends literally were gutted because we were all looking forward to it. Meryl does a good impersonation of Maggie, but where's the story? Where are The MINERS?!! We get a moment of the Poll Tax Riots, a moment of the Falklands, a moment of this, a moment of that. They should all be ashamed of themselves for a thoroughly squandered opportunity! Shockingly bad. And PS: I think the politics of the film stinks, but even though I despise Thatcher and what she did to my country, I wanted a good film made about her - Shame on you all!
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Oh, dear me no.
iainhammer27 November 2011
Just back from a screening in Hollywood, and this is I'm afraid something of a disappointment. Come Oscar time, I suspect her peers will throw the award into the much-loved Streep's lap, but the problem with a biopic is that however skilled the actor - great, even, in Streep's case - there is a tricky, unavoidable element of impersonation that inevitably creeps in and begins to dominate the characterization. It's particularly so in the scenes with Thatcher's Cabinet members, during which I also found myself distractedly thinking "Oh look, there's Mike Pennington, just like Michael Foot! Isn't Richard E. Grant the living double of Heseltine, and what about Anthony Head, the spitting image of Geoffrey Howe!?" And indeed, Spitting Image, the brilliant UK puppet satire show, often managed a more precise evocation of individual politicians than anyone here is achieving. Perhaps part of my irritation stems from the fact that I lived through the Thatcher era and all the nightmare years of strikes, garbage in the streets and rolling blackouts that preceded her and paved the way for her disciplined and dominating approach. She was like a mother-figure to the United Kingdom, telling the country it was time to clean up after itself and put its toys away (and indeed she often seemed, literally, that patronizing). She also did immense damage to the UK, to its cultural life and the social fabric she so brutally unraveled, witness her famous claim "there is no such thing as society", the mantra of the era's ethos and the rationalization of greed. The consequences of her tenancy of No 10 Downing Street were in part what persuaded me to emigrate. Her brutal order, during the Falklands conflict, to sink the Belgrano (which had been steaming speedily away from the conflict zone) seemed to me then, as it does now, a callous and indefensible action. She papered it over with obnoxious displays of public piety and jingoism ("Rejoice! Rejoice!") and if I were a believer in such things I'd hope she spends a long long time in Hades for the Falklands war. The movie effectively skitters over all this, ignores her de-regulation of banking, sets one rather brief scene at the Brighton hotel bombing minus the presence of Norman Tebbit and his unfortunate wife's awful injuries, makes no mention of Arthur Scargill (relying on archive film of the miner's protests and the subsequent riots which galvanized the nation), and uses the Poll Tax conflict to suggest she was by then well advanced into a mental instability which marked the beginning of the end of her reign. Her daughter Carol appears as a sort of goofy, endearing helpmate (no mention of Carol's quiet disappearance from public life after her throwaway racism leaked to the public) and her son Mark, a nasty piece of work by any measure, is merely a distant presence on the phone from South Africa - no mention here of his involvement in an attempted coup in Africa. Most annoying is the movie's framing device - Thatcher is a doddering old lady beset by Alzheimer's (as indeed she is) and the memories which surface through her confusion form the body of the film. Alas, skilled as J. Roy Helland's makeup job is, the aged Thatcher kept reminding me of Catherine Tate's foul-mouthed Granny comedy routine, and the thought just wouldn't go away. Thatcher was a giant presence in the global arena and literally changed the world. This oddly unaffecting film, prone to sentimentalizing its subject (which normally is a very un-British approach), is essentially a virtuoso star turn and is not the biopic Thatcher warrants, demands, and deserves.
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Film glosses over more unsavoury aspects of Margaret Thatcher's career
jennyhor200427 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I steeled myself to watch this film; I had seen the trailer and it had filled me with fear. Donning a Kevlar vest and protective wrap-round glasses to deflect excessive radiation, I entered the cinema with grim anticipation of camp heart-of-darkness horror. As it turned out though, "The Iron Lady" is more sugar-sweet seduction than full-steam-ahead torpedo fire and that soft approach may be more insidious for the target audience. The use of Baroness Thatcher's dementia to explore the woman's history in flashback sequences is a useful distancing device that at once humanises her but removes and dehumanises the victims of her policies, and this becomes both the film's saving grace (aside from its lead actor) as a character study and its weakness as a historical document.

The film simply wouldn't have worked without Meryl Streep in the lead role: Streep all but submerges herself in the character of Thatcher. Her portrayal of MT looks eerily accurate: she embodies MT's vulnerabilities as wife, mother, politician, Prime Minister and dementia victim as well as the woman's more familiar public face as formidable and steely. One highlight scene comes near the end in which MT in the twilight years of her reign holds a meeting with her Cabinet and one man confesses he hadn't given her an important timetable and the paper he has handed to her is a first draft; Thatcher rips him apart over his spelling and tardiness and the other ministers around him wilt from the full force of the burning light streaming from her being. At once viewers see MT as she must have appeared to her minions – exacting and tough as nails – and also cracks in the carapace: the expression on her face after her ministers depart softens and shows exhaustion and her fingers and hands tremble, as though to suggest that whipping the errant minister took more out of her than of him.

Apart from Streep's astonishing acting, the film itself has little plot and must rely on Thatcher's career from the 1950s to her downfall in 1990 for narrative direction. Jim Broadbent and Olivia Colman as Thatcher's husband Dennis and daughter Carol are little more than one- dimensional stereotypes: Dennis shows nothing of the forceful millionaire businessman who supported MT financially and smoothed her path to No 1 top dog, and Carol is reduced to a caregiver role. (In real life, Carol is a journalist / writer / media celebrity who started her career working for The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia.) Son Mark Thatcher barely figures in the film and that along with other moments indicates an extreme unwillingness on the script's part to confront some of the less savoury aspects of MT's general career and ideological persuasion: far from refusing to work with fascist thugs as suggested in the film's Falklands War episode, the British worked with fascist-ruled Chile during that war; and MT's son was later investigated by South African authorities in the late 1990s for loan sharking and was also accused of racketeering in Texas about the same time. (And of course there was that little Equatorial Guinea coup d'état attempt escapade in 2004 for which Mark Thatcher was fined 3 million rand and received a suspended jail term.) Other characters in the film simply flit by and register very little on viewers' radar.

Even as a sympathetic and small-scale character study, the film has obvious flaws and omissions: what happened in the young Margaret Roberts's life as grocer's daughter that made her decide to enter politics at a time when women were expected to be wives and stay-at-home mothers? What happened later on to prompt her to challenge for the Conservative Party leadership in the mid-1970s? (It cannot just have been a desire to upset people.) Why did she decide to change her image from a dowdy housewife politician with a shrill voice to a hard-headed plutonium blonde bombshell with the deep throaty tones? Where and how did she acquire and adopt the economic philosophy, championed by economists Milton Friedman and Frederick Hayek, of less government intervention and greater privatisation of the economy that was to transform Britain so much during her tenure as Prime Minister and beyond? The film's narrow focus on Thatcher as a child of the working classes fighting entrenched social and economic class-based attitudes and becoming a role model to all women diverts viewers' attention away from asking these and other uncomfortable questions about how politicians use public relations and spin-doctoring to further their careers and impose particular ideologies and polices on a restive populace. Posing MT as a role model for girls and women in fighting gender inequality also overlooks the fact that MT is consistently shown to be a woman with a somewhat masculine style of thinking and behaving that likely would alienate and drive away any potential female friends and allies.

Remove Streep and what is left? Hardly anything that would qualify as a film: the ending in which the ghost Dennis finally disappears from Thatcher's life is comic and leaves the film hanging as it were from an invisibly crumbling cliff. This in itself says something that subtly and ironically undercuts the film's message: for all her being championed as a role model and leader for women in politics, Margaret Thatcher ultimately depended on a man of wealth and elevated social position to rise to the top.
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Meryl Streep gives an Oscar winning performance
andybac14 December 2011
First of all let me say before I saw the movie I was neither a fan of Meryl Streep as an actor or Margaret Thatcher as a politician. After seeing the movie I'm amazed at Streeps brilliant performance and can't see anybody beating her for the Oscar. Also for what its worth I'm a firm fan of her now and am looking forward to seeing her next work. With Margaret Thatcher while still seeing her as flawed with regard to her battles with the unions and the Argentinians,IRA etc, I can now see where she was coming from even though her Tory views are not mine. She held high principles and the lady was definitely not for turning. In the end it lead to her down fall. Jim Broadbent as Denis Thatcher always tried to bring his wife back to reality and reminded me of why kings kept court jesters. Nicholas Farrell as her Conservative adviser gave a strong performance. The movie is virtually a one woman show seen from her viewpoint, so we should not expect it to be historically perfect in all the details. For those that like to see quality acting I can highly recommend The Iron Lady and will be adding it to my collection of favorite movies when it comes out in DVD.
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Please read the review of Thatcher's actual friends and ex-colleagues
Kong Ho Meng18 November 2012
This movie does not deserve my time to write a review on it but anyway, the reviews from actual colleagues of Margaret are already available online and I have copied the press release from the people that matters (and by the way, Meryl, at least you deserve the award this time around for not playing so much as yourself like you did in your other acting roles)

'It bears little resemblance to reality': Mrs Thatcher's former personal assistant lashes out at film for portrayal of Iron Lady" Cynthia Crawford, who worked for Lady Thatcher throughout her Downing Street tenure, said some scenes in the £10million film were 'totally unrelated to the truth'.

She attacked the decision to release the film during the 86-year-old former prime minister's lifetime as 'beyond the boundaries'. Mrs Crawford, nicknamed Crawfie, became a confidante to Lady Thatcher after she began working for her in 1978, and still visits her regularly. Mrs Crawford, 74, said: 'The dementia scenes are disproportionate to her life and her business and her being prime minister, I think that's really very sad - Lady Thatcher's policy was you look forward and you don't look back. 'If they had made the film about the 11-and-a-half years of her life as prime minister it could have been absolutely fantastic.' Miss Streep, 62, won a Golden Globe this week for her portrayal of Lady Thatcher and she has also been nominated for a Bafta and tipped for an Oscar. In her acceptance speech at the awards ceremony in Los Angeles she thanked 'everybody in England that let me come and trample all over their history', but faced accusations of ungracious behaviour for failing to thank Lady Thatcher.

Mrs Crawford said Miss Streep had captured the former prime minister's voice and her mannerisms, but said she 'hadn't quite got the walk'. She praised scenes depicting her career, including her role in the Falklands and the miners' strike, saying: 'I thought those were done well but the dementia scenes were not.' She added: 'I can assure you that all the domestic scenes in the film are just absolutely inconceivable. They're just not right and totally unrelated to the truth.' Mrs Crawford said: 'To produce this in Lady Thatcher's lifetime is beyond the boundaries and very cruel, but it is only a film, which will soon be forgotten. Her name and her legacy will forever be mentioned in the history of Great Britain.' She has become the latest of her friends and ex-colleagues to criticise the film, which focuses on Lady Thatcher's battle with dementia. '

{This excerpt was sourced from the Daily Mail}
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Stands out from today's assortment of fantasy movies
safeguide10 February 2012
I was struck immediately by the opening scenes as the first glimpse into the life of a woman I have always thought of as powerful and strong was instead this frail and delicate image I would never have thought to cross my mind. The camera focuses in on her wrinkled frail hands as she contemplates which size milk carton to buy in a shady corner market in a low- scale part of London- now very diverse. She seems out of place and delicate like a china doll. This can't be her, thought. Why isn't she in some mansion by Hyde Park with multiple housemaids waiting on her? Isn't she a national treasure of sorts? or one of the cultural elites? Seeing her decrepit form wrestle with the price of milk and living such a lonely life was a gripping tale of what happens to many of our high profile leaders... and was in my mind a refreshing nod to what is real about the human condition. There are many fine nuances and innuendos of this kind throughout this movie. Someone who appears as super head strong and confident as Thatcher also has lives much like us and perhaps even worse for all the sacrifices her life as a woman and mother in a man's world she had to make. In the end, she is like us... The film shows her rise to power, her successes and how those successes made her perhaps too proud and indelicate, provoking and humiliating the men around her. It also cleverly showed how her successes blind-sided her and led to her resignation, she was confident of her belief of what she thought the public wanted or should have wanted and was not good with compromising with those vacillators.. This is a talented and deep kind of movie, so if one is looking for some fast pace triller with one train of plot or story, and simple political story, skip this one. This is a liberal arts story portrayal, the kind of movie Hollywood has gradually lost the skill and market backing to tell with all the CGI and muscle, good looks attractions they think the public wants. This is a movie about the impermanence of human life - loneliness, reflection, loyalties made and forgotten, aging, loss of control through the weakening of the body and the mind to the irrevocable strokes of stress and strain - in the life of a person many of us thought not possible... like Ronald Reagan, whose personal life we found odd with his public persona. Not all heroes and heroines end up happily ever after, although we imagine them so... Thatcher was quite alone while deeply respected, but still, alone with not much to do - as much as any one of us would be at the end of their years... And for all the service and commitment to public service one makes with the idealism as Thatcher possessed, the public is very hard to please and easy to forget. The flashbacks highlight some key moments in her career and the definitive stand she took on issues. I never knew she and her husband almost died in a hotel from an explosion. With ALL that against her (you'll see in the movie), she still wanted to be Prime Minister... remarkable.

Yes, this is another British personality profile of the last couple years, King's Speech is dull by comparison in my opinion. And I hear they're doing a movie on Diana soon. Iron Lady is really quite moving at times and Streep's portrayal leaves one in disbelief. Streep doesn't look at all like Streep- after her portrayal of Julia Childs, I didn't think it possible for her to outdo it. This must certainly land her an academy and the movie a well deserved Oscar. For all the criticism levied on this movie, what more can you do within two hours to cover such a complicated lady who broke such strongly held conventions of her day and age? This youth-oriented generation wants sex and risqué, action and plot... but the Iron Lady's plot gives us all something much more deeper and elemental than these- taking us back on a subconscious plot that the unreflective viewer may not know what to do with. and I applaud the makers of the film for not giving in to such low methods to sell tickets. Splendid on all counts and I came away wanting to know more from having watched it.
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Disappointing, over-hyped film - shopping centre impersonations.
cainemilton25 December 2011
I was looking forward to seeing this, but was disappointed to find that it is a painfully bad piece of work. Filmmaking at its worst – poorly structured, disproportionate, over-long and over-acted. Nauseatingly too much of the archetypal batty old woman locked away in the attic schmaltz and not nearly enough life documentation (such as her career before politics, which was extensive and scientific). Streep, like anyone else, can dollop on any amount of prosthetic coverage and embody anyone at all - her voice is quite good, although no better than any street impersonator's of the same character, for anyone unfortunate enough to have lived in the UK during the Thatcher years. I've seen no worse drag queen impersonations, and similar efforts rife in '80s British comedy sketch shows and even shopping centre promotions – the 'Thatcher-gram' springs immediately to mind. Frankly, this was no classier than that other over-acted impersonation movie that killed Dunaway's career at its peak - Mommie Dearest. Streep, of course, can afford, at this late stage, to let this happen to her resume. As much as I personally disliked the real Thatcher and her politics, and thereby have no reason to feel insulted by any treatment of her, this movie was an undignified, gratuitous, inhumane hack at a living woman, presently in a nursing home with dementia, who will almost certainly get to watch it. If Helen Mirren's The Queen had been so awful it would have been publicly slammed – this is not being because it portrays a hated character without the power to speak back. This movie is cowardly, below the belt, cheap political schadenfreude about a now frail, obscure old lady. Maudlin in parts, nasty in others, but all round crass, corny, confused and dull dull dull. Shame on Merryl for doing it.
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Dull as dishwater
armanthony1 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
What a missed opportunity! One of the most loved (but also reviled) politicians in British history is given the Abi Morgan treatment (which means that this should have been great story was always destined to be dull dull dull!). Just look at Abi Morgan's other (poor) writing efforts when given the job of translating a story for the screen. She massacred Sebastian Faulks's 'Birdsong' (giant yawn) and then proceeded to chuck a bucket of cold water all over Steve McQueen's 'Shame' (I never managed to stay awake until it was finished). And so now this kiss-of-death writer is currently been very well paid to crucify 'The Invisible Woman'! OK, so who cares about that one..... but still, oh how I wish this turgid writer would disappear from our screens altogether and let someone else show her how to tell a good story in an interesting and insightful way. Had someone (anyone!) been given the job of retelling the monumental story of Margaret Thatcher, then surely it couldn't have been worse than this tripe. Take a tip from me, if you ever see Abi Morgan in the writing credits of something you're interested in watching then avoid it like the plague. First she'll kill the story that she's been paid handsomely paid to write, then she'll kill you with boredom as you wonder why you wasted your precious time watching it.
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History Re-Written
mcoml13 January 2012
Once again Hollywood would have us view political leaders and icons not of their ideology through their distorted version of the facts. Worse still; the youthful viewers, not having lived through this period, may come away with a emphatically maligned perception of a great historical figure. Let's face it though. Honesty often doesn't sell as well as tales. Enjoy this piece of fiction for what it is but be true to yourself and read more of the woman as rendered from the facts.

I'm hopeful that, as with many films covering a particular topic or subject, others producers may follow rendering a more trustworthy portrait of the Iron Lady. Recounting more to the likes of a Ken Burns film may do her justice.
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Streep is mesmerising in this beautifully made human drama of a woman who changed the face of Britain
theycallmemrglass1 December 2011
Saw this very early preview screening in London.

This was a most beautifully made film, funny and very poignant. There is absolutely no question in my mind that Meryl Streep has sealed her umpteenth term in the greatest actress office. She is absolutely spellbinding. Like Thatcher, with her male cabinet, Meryl Streep grabs her co stars by the balls and roars "gentleman, I WILL get another Oscar". She will and she deserves it, there is no actress I can think of in the last 2 centuries that can match her versatility and greatness. I could watch this again a couple more times just to absorb Streep's beautiful, immaculate and nuanced performance. OK I must stop my love letter to Streep.

Admirably, this film really doesn't paint any biased view of Thatcher whatsoever. It neither glorifies or humiliate her, it just tells a very human story about a woman that happened to changed the face of Britain. It covers both her flaws and virtues. We see her drive, tenacity, perseverance, intelligence , and her love and dependence for Dennis countered by her insecurities, bullying, and self pity. No one can deny that Thatcher was always a lady of fierce conviction (hence the obvious nickname and title of the film). It was her asset and her downfall and that is what this is mainly about. All the political events occur in the background, the focus is always on the mind of Thatcher. It also covers a great deal of her twilight years which is both funny and sad as she deals with dementia. The film is structured in flashbacks which I admit is rather old hat but is very well done.

The supporting cast are great, particularly the ever reliable Jim Broadbent as Dennis Thatcher and Anthony Head as Geoffrey Howard (her loyal aide) but they are all so tiny compared to...OK, I said I wont mention Streep again...but you know...she is the greatest. Ever.

A must see. Even Thatcher haters can enjoy many moments of Thatcher suffering in the film. And for those of you who aren't too familiar with Margaret Thatcher, either because you are too young or live across the pond, enjoy this for Meryl Streep's stunning craftsmanship.
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"One must be brave if one is to take the wheel."
classicsoncall7 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
There's little room for argument that Meryl Streep deserved the Best Actress for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, but I couldn't help thinking that the movie itself was a bit of a hit piece on the conservative British Prime Minister. Instead of examining Thatcher's tenure as PM in detail, the story had more to do with her slide into dementia following the death of husband Denis (Jim Broadbent). If that was to be the focus of the movie, why call it "The Iron Lady"? The real Iron Lady dealt with the United Kingdom's fiscal irresponsibility and stood firm against colleagues and opponents alike during the Falklands crisis. She brought Britain's role in the world back to some semblance of authority while the rest of Europe preferred to (and still does) surrender sovereignty to a monolithic entity with little regard for the common man who votes their politicians into power. Thatcher's commitment to self reliance, independence and hard work is generally alluded to but never given the kind of recognition that would inspire a viewer to follow in her footsteps. Regarding the film makers' choice of Streep in the title role is akin to selecting Jane Fonda for the role of Nancy Reagan in Lee Daniels' "The Butler", that is to say, something of a poke in the eye toward Conservatives, considering Streep's own political views. What was kind of ironic in retrospect was something Lady Thatcher stated while running for the position of Prime Minister, as it relates to the recent election of our own current President. She said "It's time to put the 'Great' back into Great Britain". It sounded like something old that's become new again.
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