The Iron Lady Review: The Oscar contender | Boxing Day Review | Boxing Day Review | SWITCH.



By Jess Fenton
24th December 2011

Margaret Thatcher is still alive and well. When her time on this earth comes to an end, how would you want to remember her? How would she want you to remember her? Publicly Thatcher's children have already come out against Phyllida Lloyd's ('Mamma Mia!') second directorial effort 'The Iron Lady'. Why? Perhaps it's because the film reduces the longest serving Prime Minister in England's history to a 80-year-old dementia sufferer, seriously effected by aging, lack of power and the grief of loosing her husband Denis, 8 years earlier.

Lloyd's endeavor however, to make an unbiased film can be applauded. The film focuses on Thatcher's power and it's cost to her personal life. Nature of the beast, some would say, and not worth mentioning. While her family may have quietly suffered her lack of attention, her marriage stayed strong and supportive throughout her terms, while the public gave her the second lowest opinion polls in history. Thatcher isn't shown as an idol nor a demon, however she is show as someone worthy of pity instead of empathy. An act I'm sure the real Margaret Thatcher would find repugnant. When the world knows your central character as someone less than a teddy bear, and rightfully so, this is downright insulting.


In 'The Iron Lady' Meryl Streep's performance as the first female British Prime Minster is flawless, as usual. Strong praise belongs to the special effects make-up team who not only helped create the remarkable transformation of Streep into Lady Thatcher but also astoundingly see her age almost 40 years over the course of the film. Streep's tipped, and lets face it, will very possibly walk away with her third Oscar next year. (Streep's previous wins went to her 1979 turn in 'Kramer vs. Kramer' and 1982's, 'Sophie's Choice'.) The same accolades can not be given for Lloyd's directorial efforts which are sloppy and missing the point.

Meryl Streep's performance as the first female British Prime Minster is flawless, as usual.

Early on in the film a 20-something year old Margaret is quoted as saying to her future husband, "I will not die washing a tea cup", only to have this almost self fulfilling prophecy come to fruition at the end of the film. Is this what we are to believe Margaret has been reduced to? An old biddy doing exactly what she spend 7 decades desperately trying not to? What was it all for then? This is actually a question raised in the film. Does that mean that we as the audience are to believe that Lady Thatcher is unaware of her influence on future generations and most notably, for women in politics? Not likely.

To be seen for Steep's performance alone, and for those wanting to see the softer side (accurate or not) of Thatcher.

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