Review is perhaps too strong a word but I’m just back from seeing ‘The Iron Lady’ and thought I would share some thoughts on this much discussed motion picture. I’m not going to get into the entire debate about whether or not Margaret Thatcher was a feminist icon – because that is a whole other blog post (perhaps even a book).
My initial feeling is that I am underwhelmed by the film. About 10-15 minutes before the end, I was shuffling, bored and waiting for it to end. While Streep is undoubtedly a fantastic actress not to mention a creepy resemblance to Thatcher, that is all that is really noteworthy about the film. The story and plot felt like a tick the box exercise of Thatchers legacy. Sexism – tick; discussion of appearance – tick; IRA – tick; Miners Strike – tick; Fauklands – tick; attempted assassination attempt – tick; husband and family – tick. And all of this through the lens of dementia.
My Nan has dementia. It is a rotten disease that slowly wipes away the spirit of a person. No one deserves their legacy to be viewed through that lens. I think this is what ultimately disappointed me about the film. Whatever way you want to look at it, Thatcher is a remarkable woman and to have her story told through delusions and illness diminishes her achievements and controversies. She deserves a better story and a better film that this one. I really hope that this doesn’t become ‘THE’ movie on Thatcher because it is woefully inadequate.
This is not coming from any place of sympathy towards Thatcher, indeed quite the opposite. I think a film about her life should be far more rigorous about her decisions, far more critical of how she made it to the office and far more nuanced about the fact that she was a woman. This film set out to make you feel sorry for her and I can’t help but feel she would want a film of her life to do exactly the opposite. My advice – skip it in the cinema, and on DVD and wait for it to come on the telly.