The Iron Lady review

Posted on 26 November 2011
By Miv Evans
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This is supposed to be a biopic of Margaret Thatcher but, unfortunately, relevance and truth are sacrificed in the name of the upcoming Oscars and what we actually get is Meryl Streep playing a role Helen Mirren was born for. Streep delivers what she got paid to deliver but her voice grates after a while and whether the Brits will buy an American as the iconic Mrs. Thatcher remains to be seen.

It’s 2010 and the ex-Prime Minister has fallen victim to senile dementia. She imagines that her late husband, Dennis (Jim Broadbent), is still alive and, as she struggles to make sense of her thoughts, her past triumphs and tribulations return in flashbacks, which is how the story unfolds.

The most fascinating part of the Iron Lady’s real-life journey was when she first got elected by her all-male peers to become leader of the Conservative party. Politics in the ‘70s were steeped in chauvinism and the war that Maggie waged to trample down this ancient male stronghold was a bloody one. But, incredibly, this political landmark is barely mentioned and instead screen-time dwells on the writer’s fictitious creation of the pensioner Maggie, which fails to capture the embers of the dazzling figurehead who never lost a war or a general election.

In the flashbacks we experience occasional moments of the barbed tongue that famously lopped men’s legs off at the knees, and we also witness one of the momentous decisions Maggie made that would make a lesser man buckle, but no credit is ever given to the savvy politician who reclaimed control of the unions that had brought down the three successive governments before her. As her reign continued, she snacked on others like them, but little more than news footage is shown of her victories and not much more of the coup that deposed her, with the term ‘Thatcherism” never so much as mentioned.

Such glaring omissions make it apparent that either the filmmakers don’t truly care about their story, or they don’t like the subject, with Maggie’s callousness made so overt that it seems under that hard exterior is simply more hard exterior. This at first seems unkind but, as the Iron Lady earned her nickname from scaring the beejesus out of Brezhnev and his Russian mobsters, maybe the filmmakers have got a point.

This review was written by a DOT (Daughter Of Thatcher).