Right before watching a screener of The Iron Lady, I started reading a Newsweek with Meryl Streep on the cover. The three page story was a lot more interesting than the two hour movie. It was also a lot more thorough. I found out in the article that Margaret Thatcher was a chemist in 1950. This sloppy bio-pic never covered that, or much of her pre-Parliament career (she was also a barrister).
I also found it odd that we were watching the past through her Alzheimer’s flashbacks, and with Thatcher still being alive and in ill health (she’s had a series of strokes and hasn’t been well in over 10 years)…this all just seemed a bit bizarre.
I did like Meryl Streeps performance, which will garner her a 17th Oscar nomination (but not a win, as the script is all over the map). I also enjoyed Jim Broadbent as the husband.
Streep is such a great actress that, unlike Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe (who will also get an Oscar nod), or Jamie Fox as Ray Charlies (who won the Oscar) – this was more than a mere impersonation.
We’ve seen Streep play real life characters before and she’s always great. Those roles would include Abigail Adams, Susan Orlean, Karen Silkwood, and Roberta Guaspari (Music of the Heart).
And one of the things I keep telling myself I should stop doing after I see these bio-pics is research to see if certain aspects were true. It always frustrates me. With this, I found out that when Airey Neave was killed by an IRA car bomb and Thatcher went running to the scene, she was actually nowhere in sight.
Special mention should go to Marese Langan, who did the make-up. I wouldn’t normally even acknowledge a person like that in a review, but after the horrible make-up job in the J. Edgar film months earlier, I figure it’s worth giving Langan a shout-out.
Streep gives an interesting, nuanced portrayal…but this really should’ve just been a TV movie.
It gets 2 out of 5 stars.