Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd
Genre: Drama, Biographical
Country: United Kingdom, France
From a person who is very out of touch with politics and unaware of many things that I probably should know, but hey who tells me? I also don’t know much about Thatcher. The Iron Lady gives you a biopic experience that shows this headstrong politician in her highs and lows and her arrival to politics. Meryll Streep is unforgettable and the flashback structure makes things even more exciting. Despite not teaching much in-depth about this fascinating woman, we see moments of her career that will likely want you to learn more about her. The film is quite plain in storytelling, but Streep's performance makes up for it.
Meryll Streep was the film’s strong point, and so it should have been. Streep pulls of the English accent beautifully and gives an elegant performance that is breath taking. Taking on the role of a famous politician is no easy task as it can raise speculation. Example: Imagine a film was to be made about say, Tony Blair, and Adam Sandler was to play the role. It would be somewhat of an insult. Streep has plenty of respect in the film industry, and with good reason. In no way does she insult Thatcher in this performance. In fact, she compliments it and definitely captures the audiences’ interest. If it wasn't for her marvellous acting, the film would definitely fall flat. And with the make-up, Streep has an uncanny resemblance to Thatcher, though more appealing.
Margaret Thatcher has been remembered for many things, some good and others bad. One bad decision she made was not taxing the rich people, which lead to her being hated by many. She slowly became the most hated prime minister of all time when she increased the interest rates, lowered tax income and increased indirect taxes. It is hard to sum up some of her bad mistakes to read here for more info.
However, she also had some moments of glory, which, for the sake of shortening this review, I will not expand on.
The thing I respect most about this politician is how she challenged politics. Few women prior to the 90’s had a chance in the male dominated world of politics and for women around the world she has been an influence of freedom and independence. As a character of this film, she appears as courageous, intelligent and strong-willed. Thatcher tried her best to make a difference to her beloved country, and maybe she did make a few wrong decisions, but the amount of pressure she went through was immense.
The name of ‘The Iron Lady’ comes from her strong will. Her friend was assassinated and she was almost killed after an attempted assassination by the IRA after terrorists attempted to blow up the Grand Hotel in 1984 were she was staying with her husband. Did this make her back down or resign whatsoever? No, she kept her head high and said, “We must not give in to terrorism!” There were times when people despised her, and times when they adored her. But, what can I really say? I don't know her personally.
I kept my own opinions out of this, as politics is simply the one of the touchiest subjects next to religion. There are some things I agree with that Thatcher did and other I don’t. Now let us continue with film criticism.
The film is made up of flashbacks in a most enthusing fashion. The film begins with Thatcher going to the shop to buy milk (one of the films little motif’s), and she returns to her house. We discover she is not meant to leave alone claiming, “If someone can’t go out to buy milk that has become of the world?” Then we dive in to her memoirs that bring out humanity in her character. Although the flashbacks are insanely all over the place, jumping back and forth at times, the collage of moments in Thatcher’s life (up to now) worked out wonderfully.
The films problem is it does not teach you much about Thatcher. It is very vague with what she done and the film could span 4 hours if it wanted to. The storytelling tries a little hard to present the film, and some people have even called it ‘self-important’. It is quite bland at times, looking lifeless and colourless as we enter politics, but the film has edge with Streep’s mesmerising performance and humour keeps you going.
The dialogue felt natural and real, especially when Streep was doing her speeches. Beside Streep’s performance, we had Jim Broadbent as her husband Dennis. When Thatcher is hallucinating, she sees visions of her husband, and that is where we really see her boast some emotion. Although quite foolish and clearly not original, Broadbent’s performance as the husband to Thatcher worked fine for those moments, and during the flashbacks. You may not learn as much as you hoped from the film. but it definitely serves as entertaining.
In conclusion, this film for the older audience who are aware of Thatcher’s audience (and were around during her time as Prime minister), the film offers hour, reminders and graceful look-backs on her life through great storytelling. For others, it is likely to be an entertaining film that opens their eyes to this woman and may even encourage you to do some research on her.
My Rating: 7.5/10
Runtime: 105 Minutes
Produced by: Damian Jones
Distributed by: The Weinstein Company (US), 20th Century Fox (UK), Pathé (International)