The Iron Lady
Tagline: Never Compromise
If you were to put forward the ideal person to play former British Prime Minister – and the first and only female to hold the position – Margaret Thatcher, you’d imagine that Meryl Streep would be high on the wish list, despite the fact that she’s not actually a Brit. The reason? Because not only does she throw herself into roles with a steely determination (some in the know claim she’s come closer to sounding like Thatcher than anyone other than the actual woman herself) but Streep’s name on the poster pretty much guarantees Oscar buzz.
And that’s been the case in The Iron Lady where director Phyllida Lloyd (they teamed up for the slightly less serious Mamma Mia!) takes a look back on Thatcher’s reign by juxtaposing her fearsome reputation while in office with her reportedly current day state of Alzheimer’s, which could account for the 86-year-old sooner rather than later.
The movie shuttles between Thatcher in her pomp (The Falklands War, the miners strike) and her doddering around at home. And much like people’s opinion of the woman in question, the reviews are mixed. “Despite the story’s conceit of placing the viewer inside Thatcher’s head, she never feels like a real person,” writes the Village Voice. But Entertainment Weekly disagrees: “Streep is her own irresistible show as she assumes, with the precision that is her trademark, the character of the U.K.’s staunchly conservative prime minister in the 1980s.” It’s left to Time Out New York to find some middle ground, acknowledging the power of Streep’s performance (“unsurprisingly excellent”) but that “All the oversimplification and revisionism distracts,” concluding that “This iron lady of cinema deserves better.” For what it’s worth, Friday Flicks is predicting that yet another actor portraying a British figure (following on from Colin Firth in The King’s Speech and Helen Mirren in The Queen) will win an Oscar, meaning that Streep will get to take to the Academy stage for the first time in nearly 30 years.