THE IRON LADY
First, Meryl Streep is absolutely superb, in all of the
incarnations she portrays of Margret Thatcher.
In many ways the film is also superb, but it has a center of gravity that is disturbing and disrespectful.
Thatcher was one of the towering characters of the late
20th Century. Obviously she was a barrier breaker and an historic figure. Regardless of her politics, and people are still divided about that, she deserves a more appropriate lens by which to view her life and influence.
Screen writer Abi Morgan, whose credits are the movie Shame and TV movies, is inauthentic, disingenuous
and probably a wholesale fabricator in using an increasingly
incapacitated Lady Thatcher as the touchstone from which she launches into memories. Speaking with her husband's ghost as a point of departure, for example. It is distasteful, contrived and demeaning to a true historic character.
The director Phyllida Lloyd, a well regarded director in
British Theater, presides over a film that could have been
brilliant had it not been for her and Morgan's penchant to make it a bit of a cheap English tattler.
Despite those serious weaknesses in structure, Streep, Jim Broadbent as Dennis Thatcher and Alexandra Roach as a young Iron Lady were all brilliant. The film is well made
except for its orientation of focus.
Thatcher's life was towering enough to find another through-line or means of story connection. Seeing her in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease is cheap and in many ways a bit of a shot at her. There is enough known about her, that Morgan and Lloyd didn't have to resort to contriving scenes of
the once elegant lady rummaging around her apartment, disheveled and demented.
A personal note-the thing I remember about Margret
Thatcher, made indelible in my meeting her after she had
left office, was her supreme command and eloquent use of
English. She spoke as well as anyone I've known or have seen.
She could be tough, yes, but so well spoken.
There is a lot about the film that is commendable,
but the horrible contrivance of seeing her as a failing old
woman is an artistic license that should earn scorn for Lloyd and Morgan. Streep on the other hand becomes more legendary by her uncanny and brilliant work though I wish she had not been called on to play some scenes.
GREAT THATCHER MOMENTS
A Young Iron Lady 1975
Later as PM in the House of Parliament
(Turn up the volume on this)
THE FILM VERSION
Have a good weekend.
Enjoy the Super Bowl-at least there is a
Manning in it.
See you down the trail.