Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain passed away earlier this month; at the time, it divided the nation’s opinion and those that were alive to experience Thatcher’s years in power, and who suffered the most hardships seemed to have the loudest voice. I felt because I was not alive during this time period, I had no right to judge. Instead, I chose to watch the movie biopic of her life The Iron Lady, a movie that earned Meryl Streep her 3rd Oscar win for her portrayal as Margaret Thatcher.
The film sees Streep reunited with Mamma Mia director Phyllida Lloyd amidst a predominately British cast. The film opens with Thatcher an old and frail lady, buying a pint of milk from the corner shop; she’s outraged at the price of it and complains to her husband, Dennis. This all seems relatively normal, except that when a house aide comes to check on Lady Thatcher, she is alone and her late husband Dennis is in fact a figment of her imagination.
From this point onwards, the movie uses flashback to tell the story of Margaret Thatcher’s life, from being inspired to go into politics, until she leaves the post of Prime Minister. The script weaves between the present day and flashbacks, and it’s a stark contrast when you see Thatcher’s glory days alongside her elderly present self. Her loneliness is apparent, and it certainly makes you feel sympathetic towards her. The scenes with Jim Broadbent as her late husband Dennis are great – he’s a brilliant sparring partner for Streep’s Thatcher, and they portray a strong and loving marriage.
Meryl Streep really does deserve the Oscar in this standout performance as the former Prime Minister. As Thatcher in her glory days, she has her infamous voice down to a tee, looking every bit as formidable. Strong willed, determined and ambitious, she makes her way to the top and fights to stay there. Streep is fantastic and makes you feel empathy towards a woman that many feel hatred towards.
However, this film isn’t entirely perfect; in regards to the flashbacks, they can often feel jumpy, and at times they don’t flow well – you’re often left wondering what time period the film is in. It’s also quite a concise film, coming in at around 100 minutes and I felt certain aspects of it could have been explored more.
The film overall is good; at times it struggles to flow well, and your left feeling slightly disorientated but perhaps this is supposed to resemble the fact that Thatcher in the present is very much disorientated by her surroundings. But it is Streep’s knockout Oscar winning performance that really makes this movie worth a watch – to watch one of the great actresses of our generation, in her Oscar winning performance is certainly a treat.
Margaret Thatcher: We will stand on principle… or we will not stand at all. (The Iron Lady)