Biopics of well known people are always a challenge. Either you retell the stories everyone already knew or you find a small nook of privacy that has never been discussed and exploit it. Getting a story to form around either of these is always the challenge.
Iron Lady is brilliantly acted by Streep. I have to admit, I went into this not expecting to even be entertained, but this may be her most amazing acting job in her career, helped in no small part by astounding make-up. Streep utterly disappears and, with the help of some real Thatcher footage to confuse your mind, becomes MT. She is sure to get an Oscar nod for her efforts and may likely walk away with it. Honestly, it is that astounding a performance.
The story, however, is more troublesome. It is cleverly told from Thatcher’s last days as she falls further and further into dementia and slips between present and past, wholly aware that it is going on, but unable and unwilling to stop it. If the intent was her final dominance over this issue, it didn’t quite work. If the intent was to put a very human face on the Iron Lady, and remind us that politicians are all human and, often as not, are making decisions they truly think are right, it worked, but it wasn’t compelling in a way that would bring me back.
In many ways, it feels like this was primarily a strong commentary on her reign in Parliament, and I’ve no political leanings one way or the other in this case. There is a definite point of view offered up about her success or failure as a leader while still allowing for a bit of admiration for her character.
See this for Streep. It is worth the price of admission. I don’t know that, particularly in America, the film will resonate, but certainly her performance will be discussed and referenced for years to come. As a movie, I don’t see it being much remembered.