Meryl Streep won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher. I think she did a very good job, but her makeup artists where the real stars of this show-they also won an Oscar. We shift from the past to the present and the actors playing the principals all undergo some dramatic changes. At one point I mistook another Minister for Margret’s husband, who has a co-starring role as a ghost/hallucination. You’ve seen one old British guy with huge glasses and you’ve seen then all.
Not being an expert on Margaret Thatcher, I had to google her to find out that her husband died of cancer in 2003-the film never makes it clear that he wasn’t killed by a terrorist’s bomb. There was also the hint that she was going to die in the last scene as she washes a teacup. And no, I didn’t know if she was alive or dead.
Since the film covers, in endless flashback hops, a span of years from the 1950s to the 2010s, there is plenty of room of confusion for those of us in America who lived through the Thatcher years, but didn’t pay much attention to them. Like her American counterpart Ronald Reagan, she’s a love em or hate em kind of a figure. The fact that her own political party knifed her in the back is interesting, although the movie seems to imply that Margaret Thatcher was losing her marbles during her last days in office.
Our views of the present day Margaret Thatcher are those of an old woman suffering from some form of dementia and general decline from advancing age. She forgets her name while signing a few copies of her books, her hands shake, she tends to issue orders as if she were still the Prime Minister, and she continues to see her dead husband hanging about. The film fails to mention that Reagan also suffered from mental decline.
The Iron Lady was a beautiful film to look at, the costumes and the makeup were great, and the acting was brilliant. The screenplay could have used some help. I didn’t need to spend that much time with a confused old woman.