The Iron Lady: Movie Review

[Rating: 3]

Director: Phyllida Lloyd

Cast: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Susan Brown, Olivia Colman, Anthony Head, Richard E. Grant , Michael Pennington, Hugh Ross, Nicholas Farrell, Michael Culkin, Roger Allam, Nick Dunning, Iain Glen, Harry Llyod

Synopsis: Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister, now in her 80s, is at home having breakfast in Chester Square, London. Although her husband, Denis, has been dead for several years, her decision finally to clear out his wardrobe has triggered a slew of memories. Indeed, as she sets about her day, Denis appears to her as real as when he was alive – loyal, loving, mischievous.
Margaret`s staff express concern to Carol Thatcher about her mother`s apparent confusion of past and present. The concern becomes stronger when, at a dinner she hosts that night, Margaret captivates her guests but is then distracted by memories of the dinner at which she first met Denis 60 years previously.
With the dinner party over, Margaret retires to bed but cannot sleep. She gets up and digs out some old home movies which she watches and reflects on the sacrifices made in her private life in pursuit of her career.
The day after the dinner party, Carol has persuaded her mother to see a doctor. Margaret maintains that there is nothing wrong with her. She reveals nothing to the doctor about the vivid memories of key moments of her life that are invading her waking hours.
Back at Chester Square, Margaret fights against the rising tide of memories. She packs up Denis`s belongings and asserts her independence – of course she will have memories but she also has a life in the present – a smaller life than before, but one no less worth living.

Review: ‘The Iron Lady’ is less of a biopic and more about Margaret Thatcher’s old age. The film provides no opinion about her political career. It simply depicts facts. The rest is left to the audience. Flash backs from her old age to her climb from a grocer’s daughter to the Prime Minister has been emphasized on. So, Margaret Thatcher the person takes priority in the script over Margaret Thatcher, "The Iron Lady".

Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister, now in her 80s, is at home having breakfast in Chester Square, London. Although her husband, Denis, has been dead for several years, her decision finally to clear out his wardrobe has triggered a slew of memories. Margaret fights against the rising tide of memories. She packs up Denis’ belongings and asserts her independence – of course she will have memories but she also has a life in the present – a smaller life than before, but one no less worth living. Suffering from hallucinations and old age, we see pieces of her youth, her glory days, and troubled days as Prime Minister through flashbacks and memories.

In her youth, her ambition or her desire to help and change can be both hated and loved. Again, this is simply put across as a fact. Because of this approach, the director and writer fail to move us in any way. Apart from some aspect of her old age, nothing about Margaret touches a chord. In a movie that could have been better, Meryl Streep stands out and shines. Her political carrier is just a slight outline to what the film was really about. It’s about Margaret, the old haggard woman, who now suffers from hallucinations, drinking problems and yet has the spark to shut people up in one statement. For example, when in for a routine checkup, the doctor enquires “how are you felling”, an 80+ Margaret replies “no one these days cares about thought. Every one cares about feelings. What you think is what you say, what you say is what you do, what you do is who you become. And I say I’m fine.”

So, yes, dialogues and Streep’s performance take the film from a 2.5 rating to a 3 rating. The film itself however, is good but not great. But I would suggest, watch it for Meryl.

Verdict: Don’t expect too much from the film. Just watch it for Meryl Streep.

Malvika Rao

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