February 22, 2012
"The Iron Lady" is the life story of the first female British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. I was still not very politically-aware when Ms. Thatcher led Great Britain in the 1980s, so I only know her by reputation. I was interested to watch her growing up years and how she got into politics, as well as to learn more about the highlights of her political career.
Upon watching this film though, I was very disappointed by the fact that the film used flashbacks of a retired and depressed Margaret Thatcher to tell its story. This was a Margaret Thatcher that also had hallucinatory visions of her deceased husband. The stories told were very episodic and random. I did not see her as a child growing up with her parents, her days in school, etc. I wanted to see more of these positive influences that made her the Iron Lady that she was known for. Instead, we see a lot of a lonely old woman with senile dementia, a mere shadow of her powerful persona years back. I do not think this cinematic exposition was very respectful of the famous subject. The director of "The Iron Lady" is Phyllida Lloyd, who once directed Streep in a little confection called "Mamma Mia!"
Much had been said about Meryl Streep and her spot-on performance of Ms. Thatcher. I would expect no less form Ms. Streep in this aspect, how accurate I am not sure. I still see Meryl Streep. Though Ms. Thatcher's distinct voice can now be added to Ms. Streep's many successful cinematic accents in her career, this airy high-pitched voice was a bit reminiscent of Streep's Julia Child accent in the recent "Julie and Julia". As of now, I have seen 4 out of the 5 nominated Best Actress candidates (except Michelle Williams). Ms. Streep's Thatcher was certainly the most audacious and bombastic of them all. Let us see then if that will bring her another Oscar next week.