Meryl Streep plays former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Thatcherand she's terrific. The look in her eyes, the timber of her voice, her
gait, etc. I kept waiting for the film to become as exceptional as its star,
but The Iron Lady (showtimes) remains a mostly
Nevermind the politics, the Thatcher we see here was a fascinating
individual. She believed that contemporary society was suffering from focusing
on individuals and emotions rather than ideas. She gets off some crisp quotes
on the subject, which I'll leave you to hear for yourself.
The film hops back and forth in time, telling Thatcher's
life story along the way. But it's starting point, and home base throughout the
story, is with Thatcher in her elderly days. Fragile and sometimes unfocused,
she has frequent exchanges with the ghost of her beloved husband Denis (Jim
Broadbent). Thatcher is tended to by
cheerful professionals, and her daughter Carol (Olivia Colman) drops by often
(Carol's twin brother Mark is away in South Africa), but she is lonely and
increasingly frail and...
And what would Prime Minister Thatcher think of those
genuinely touching scenes? What would the tough, shrewd leader think of a film
that tries to make a highly controversial subject more sympathetic by first
presenting her as determined, but frail and fading? I suspect she would cry
foul, asking why the writer and filmmaker opted to present her through a haze
of emotion instead of focusing on ideas. I'm glad I saw The Iron Lady because of the remarkable Streep, along with the
performances of several other cast members. What a shame the surrounding film
is so ordinary.