ADS 468x60

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Review: The Iron Lady (12A) ★★★
A look at the life of Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, with a focus on the price she paid for power.

As a child that was brought up during the eighties my memories of Margaret Thatcher are quite hazy.
I remember that she was disliked, and to some extent was blamed for almost everything that went wrong in the country, and our house. As such, I guess I inherited these feelings, the trouble she seemingly caused for the country, seemingly caused trouble for me.

Now, with these sentiments pushed firmly to one side, I sat and watched The Iron Lady with an open mind and let the results wash over me. The result? I didn’t like the film, but I liked the central character. Ironic?

Well, kind of.

I still don’t like Thatcher, the person, but as Thatcher, the film character, she’s very interesting. This however is all down to Meryl Streep. What an actress and what a performance. If ever there was a film that needs a performance to carry it, then The Iron Lady is it.

The film itself is an uneven mess. Part recollection of Thatcher’s most infamous past, part portrayal of an elderly woman struggling with dementia who can’t shake the ghost of her dead husband. It pivots between these two narratives without any real explanation, bar the obligatory ‘stare at an old photograph and dissolve into history’ shot, and leaves the viewer without any real direction. The film also feels very cold and distance, skimming over pivotal moments in quick five minute intervals, not allowing its audience to create a relationship with it.

Because of the films faults, it needs something to shine through and keep people hooked. This hook is in the form of Meryl Streep as Maggie herself. Now, to say this is an acting master-class would do Streep a disservice, this is much more than that. Streep embodies Thatcher’s mannerisms, her voice and literally becomes the woman herself. Honestly, it’s scary how close to Thatcher she actually gets. If you then add on top of all this that she has to act and carry a film it shows testament to the claim that she is arguably the greatest actress of all time.

It’s such a strange feeling to not like film but be completely entranced by a performance that to write a review is difficult. The fact of the matter is, the film and its story telling are poor, but the acting is mesmerising. Streep’s performance on its own raises this review by one star so that should tell you what you’ll come away with most from this film.


Post a Comment