Considering the Margaret Thatcher that is introduced in Iron Lady is nothing but all sorts of soft, cuddly, cute, and lonely its hard to understand the public outrage that the film has received. Some feel that Iron Lady’s depiction of Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep), is demeaning to the real life Thatcher whose frail health and reclusive nature of late have made her something of a legend. Iron Lady knows that the United Kingdom’s first and only female Prime Minister is regarded less kindly by some, as many feel Thatcher ruled the nation with an iron fist. In Iron Lady director Phyllida Lloyd and Shame script writer Abi Morgan pursue insight into the intricacies of the controversial decisions that Thatcher faced as the only female member of parliament, as a married woman, and as a mother.
First off, Oscar magnet Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Thatcher is executed with impeccable and dedicated precision. Iron Lady covers a vast portion of Thatcher’s life, but does so with a comfortable momentum that makes its navigation of events quite smooth. Thatcher travels between vivid memories of the days of her past in waves of flash backs, and is hounded by the hallucination of her deceased husband Sir Denis Thatcher (Jim Broadbent), whose death she still has not come to grips with. Impressively, Iron Lady sidesteps the risk of what so many biopics become: a barrage of montage and hurried sequences that only glaze over issues and events. Instead, Morgan’s accounting of Thatcher’s story in a regimented and straight forward fashion allows the powerful nature of Thatcher’s recollections to bleed through with absolute poignancy. Streep works hard to synchronize her portrayal of Thatcher with the strong willed legacy that survives the former P.M., and Streep’s commitment to her physical transformation into the considerably wrinklier Thatcher makes it clear that she is determined to remain an actress to be reckoned with. Iron Lady’s crafty nexus between Lloyd and Morgan’s emotionally persuasive depiction and Streep’s gruelling performance is where the film’s strength resides. That fact that we are receiving Thatcher as a dementia addled old lady, and not as her better known persona of a woman of controversy, is Iron Lady greatest indication of its desire for integrity. The incredibly emotional portrayal of Thatcher is admirable because it makes her exacting, calculated and cold nature a necessity to her character, a bi product of her terrific desire to help humanity. Weather Thatcher’s sincerity is true or not becomes unimportant; Iron Lady is an entertaining because it makes you want it to be.