The Iron Lady is a compelling portrait of Margaret Thatcher, the first and only female prime minister of Great Britain, played expertly by Meryl Streep.
I was 23 years old when Thatcher took office, shortly before Reagan. Politics didn’t interest me much then, and British politics was far from my attention and focus. I remembered her as a part of the conservative and bellicose club, part of Reagan and Bush, and the latin american meat-packing glitterati, to use a quote by Pink Floyd from the Fletcher Memorial Home.
From this movie I learned about her humble beginnings, her ambition and her conviction to stand up for her own beliefs and principles.
Structurally, I found the movie somewhat confusing. There was too much switching back and forth from Thatcher in old age, reminiscing about her life, and the various flashbacks that actually told the story. The writers wanted to have Thatcher tell her story from a list of remembrances, real and hallucinated. The film spent a considerable amount of time depicting Thatcher’s senility in old age, something I was actually not aware of. She is still alive today and this image being evoked is not a flattering one.
I found it challenging to keep track of the flow of time and the effort to do so distracted me from being immersed in the movie.
While Streep’s performance is immaculate, the filmmakers don’t seem to know where to go with this film. It has no compelling purpose or even structure. It meanders through Thatcher’s life without an apparent purpose or message.
To its credit, the film inspired me to pick up a biography and read further on the subject. And that made it all worthwhile.
Rating: ** 1/2