The Iron LadyWritten by administrator
The film begins with an aged Thatcher, onset with mild dementia, having hallucinatory conversations with her long-deceased husband, and smothered to the point that she is unable to go out to buy milk without evoking anxiety in her caretakers and daughter. An interspaced flashback narrative takes us back to her youth, and the rise of her political trajectory – from grocer's daughter to Oxford graduate to conservative backbencher – as she dons the mantle of The Iron Lady.
Despite its title, The Iron Lady isn't a political drama by any stretch of the imagination: the film's narrative glosses over and simplifies much of Thatcher's politics, with her international collaboration with fellow conservative Ronald Reagan distilled to a quick visual of them ballroom dancing, and the vast majority of her controversial politics portrayed in press release graphics. What the film sets out to do, however, is to set the stage for an apolitical exploration of Iron Maggie's emotional interior, with her personal life at its dramatic core.
While detractors will critique the chintzy dramatisation of politics and the slightly erratic structure, the film is ultimately buoyed by the strength of its leading lady. As in all her films, Meryl Streep shines in a class of her own. It is not only her physical and verbal mimicry that is spot on, but her ability to portray the resolution of her character – both in her prime and in decrepitude – that makes the film emotionally riveting. Honorable mentions also go to Jim Broadbent as a bluff, badgering Mr Thatcher, and to Antony Head as chastened Deputy Prime Minister Geoffrey Howe.
Depending on one's political inclination, one could interpret the Thatcher portrayed in this narrative as either single-minded monster or resolute leader. Regardless, the tremendous pathos of Streep's performance should be unanimously acclaimed.
Summary: The House of F*** puts to the floor that the right honourable film is both poignant and well crafted.
Rating: 3.5/5 Raphael Lim
The Iron Lady opens 16 Feb.