Maggie Thatcher is one of the most controversial Prime Ministers that Britain has ever had. Her involvement in cutting union’s powers and the Falklands War are just two of the many divisive issues she dealt with during her ten years in office. The Iron Lady isn’t about politics though, it is about an elderly (and now senile) lady looking back on her life and trying to come to terms with the death of her husband Dennis.
As biopics go, The Iron Lady is a solid achievement, its depiction of a young Margaret Thatcher (played by Alexandra Roach) is engaging in so many ways. From historical, feminist, political, romantic and emotional points of view it delivers in leaps and bounds. Where it really comes into its own however is when Meryl Streep takes over as Thatcher. She embodies the ex-Prime Minister, she doesn’t just portray her in this sure to be Oscar winning performance. Her posture, voice, attitude, and mannerisms are so perfectly captured that for the majority of the film you simply are watching the iron lady herself. And what a lady she is.
Thatcher is the most interesting leading lady I have ever seen put on film. Not only is she determined, powerful and unswathingly honest, she is also quirky, witty & an emotionally engaging person. Top that off with a time which saw bombings, riots and wars then you know you’re going to be in for a treat.
The Iron Lady is a surprising film and is -in many ways – similar to The King’s Speech. Its main characters are the ruler of a country and yet we see them only as a human; funny, flawed, sometimes angry – sometimes sad & always compelling.
The only problem with The Iron Lady when compared with The King’s Speech is that the finale is nowhere near as rousing and well done. Although there is a poignancy in the end of this film it is a less triumphant finish than last year’s Oscar winner. As a character in Amadeus says; “you didn’t even give them a good bang at the end of songs, to let them know when to clap.” Here we are left with a film unfinished. It should have ended with a bang like the rest of Thatcher’s career, not a mere fizzle.