Iron Lady, The

Release date: December 26, 2011
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Screenplay by: Abi Morgan
Cast: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent

I love how timely this movie is — you know, if you consider what Prince William is doing in the Falkland Island, and all the fuzz going on in South America about Argentina and whatnot.

I also love how the last posters for the film play on how dividing the political figure of Margaret Thatcher actually is to the public. So how can you NOT want to watch a movie like this?

The Iron Lady is a non-linear “biographical” film on Margaret Roberts (Alexandra Roach), the daughter of a grocery shop owner with a political knack, who would eventually become Margaret Thatcher (Streep), the first (and only) female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The film begins with her buying milk and not being spotted by anyone in the shop nor on her way back home. There we realize she is struggling with dementia, as she has routine conversations with her deceased husband, Denis (Broadbent).

Making the harsh realization herself, Thatcher revisits key moments in her life.

I really want to say that I loved the movie, but I didn’t. The screenplay and direction of the film were a sad mess. Considering how eventful Thatcher’s life actually was and how richly political that period of time was, The Iron Lady is reduced to a few couple notable flashbacks. The fact that most forum discussion of the film is about Margaret Thatcher — the person — instead of her depiction tells you that the film doesn’t touch upon any important view of Thatcher.

It was so intent on being objective that they failed to engage the audience.

Having said that, the film does have some great moments, especially when we see Thatcher already surrounded by politics as a member of parliament, and eventually as Prime Minister. The film was already quite long, but I feel that the UK’s situation needed a lot more background to get a perspective on why Thatcher made the decisions she made. We saw the riots, the bombing, but they never felt more than just mere mentions of events.

What is astonishing about The Iron Lady, however, is Meryl Streep — or more specifically, the make-up. I spent most of the movie just looking at her, because I just couldn’t believe it was her. It was even more impressive during the aged Thatcher period, where there was not a single hint of Meryl. It reminded me a lot of La Vie en Rose, in more than one aspect.

Overall, I wish The Iron Lady had been tackled with a more conventional treatment. I really feel like the non-linear storyline took away a lot of the focus and a lot of the importance of a historical figure such as Thatcher, reducing her to an old lady remembering her life and what she had to give up to achieve what she did. I guess this way they soften her up enough, but in my view, that’s a problem.

Rating: ★★★¼☆ 


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

7 Responses

  1. Rodrigo says:

    That poster you used for this review makes me want to watch the film more than the trailers did, lol.

  2. Antoinette Barton says:

    Wow! This review mirrors my thoughts about the movie perfectly. I still think the film, although very messy, should be encouraged to watch. Not for the sake of the storyline but Meryl Streep’s acting was phenomenal! The moments that Streep’s character expressed intense grieve, I was right there with her. Her performance was brilliant and worth watching.

  1. January 6, 2014

    […] If we have to compare this to another film, it could be compared to Black’s previous script for Milk. In contrast to J. Edgar, however, the story between the political man that was Harvey Milk and the man that he was in private seemed to flow without trying. Of course, another big distraction has to be the awful makeup applied on Leonardo DiCaprio to make him resemble Hoover, which pales in comparison to the work done on Meryl on The Iron Lady. […]

  2. January 29, 2016

    […] I found this movie very engaging and with no “bad guy” in sight, you could just immerse yourself in the action-packed yet Christmasy feel of it all. It didn’t hurt that Arthur Christmas had witty lines, poignant moments and it is quietly progressive. How come? Well, no one comments on elves with piercings or gay elves — they are just there and it is normal. Also, it’s funny that Mrs. Santa’s (Staunton) name is Margaret, because Jim Broadbent is going to be married to another Margaret in The Iron Lady. […]

  3. July 28, 2016

    […] The Iron Lady will now open December 30th in New York and Los Angeles, with expanded dates on January 6th and 13th. […]

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