Warning - this post comes with Thatcher speaking in Lolcat and two personally embarrassing confessions.
The title of this post may suggest I'm not taking this review with the seriousness it deserves. Believe me, I'm not doing anything to this film it hasn't already done to itself. The Iron Lady is well-crafted froth, but it's the least political biopic of a political leader since Springtime For Hitler.
Instead, we get the triumph of the individual and her struggle for respect and self-validation as Margaret Thatcher ascends to Prime Minister, then falls and declines. "There's no such thing as society" might as well be the principle the film follows. The country, the Conservative party and the struggles of the 70's and 80's are nothing more than the occasional backdrop for One Woman's Titanic Struggle Against Teh Odds.
This approach celebrates Thatcher's iconic status as the first female PM and her undeniable secondary virtues - hard work, thrift, determination - and deftly avoids any closer look at her decidely non-feminist politics or the deleterious social, political and economic impact of her time in office. Anyone coming to The Iron Lady with little knowledge of the period would be none the wiser for watching it.
What do you think, Lolcat Thatcher?
WUT I DOEZ FINKZ IZ MAN SHUD BE ENCOURAGD 2 STAND ON HIS OWN 2 FEET. YEZ, WE HALP PEEPS. OV COURSE WE HALP PEEPS, BUT 4 DOSE HOO CAN DO, THEY MUST JUS GIT UP AN DO.
Exactly. Much more informative than watching The Iron Lady.
What is the point in making a film about the most divisive PM of modern times - from any point on the political spectrum - and not trying to address her legacy?
I can't make up my mind whether the plot device of having present-day Margaret, suffering from the onset of dementia, experience her life in flashback, is inspired King Lear-ing or cheesy and slightly exploitative. Whether the same treatment would be meted out to a living male politician is an interesting question.
What lifts it out of made for TV territory is an A++ performance from Meryl Streep as the Baroness for all seasons. I haven't seen anyone totally own a film in a while and she was a total delight to watch.
Confession one: Meryl was so good she even made me shed a tear for Thatcher.
Confession two: "young Thatcher" was disturbingly cute in a "But Margaret, you're beautiful" style. I don't - don't - don't want to think of her that way, thank-you-very-much.
And here's a final word from Lolcat Thatcher.
WER THAR IZ DISCORD, CUD WE BRIN HARMONY. WER THAR IZ ERROR, CUD WE BRIN TRUTH.....
Or perhaps not.