The Oscars this year seem to be dominated by biopics. If Michelle Williams got her nomination for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn, then Meryl Streep won her third Oscar for her brilliant performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
There have been murmurs against the movie for historical inaccuracy and for fawningly focussing on the personal in Thatcher's rise from a grocer's daughter to become the first woman and the longest serving Prime Minister of Britain and not her policies. There has also been criticism for showing the cruel disintegration of a strong and powerful mind.
Just looking at The Iron Lady as a film and not a documentary, it is Meryl Streep who keeps your eyes riveted to the screen with her performance as Thatcher. The voice, the gait and the steel trap mouth all comes eerily to life as also the latter day Thatcher — confused by dementia and not able to differentiate between the real and the imagined. Giving Streep able support is Jim Broadbent as Thatcher's husband, Denis.
The look and feel of the era is beautifully brought alive and as Thatcher is shown walking into Ten Downing Street, one is reminded of the comedy “Yes, Prime Minister,” which apparently Thatcher liked very much. As Thatcher ponders about the war in Falklands, her profile shot brings to mind another Iron Lady, Indira Gandhi.
Without Streep, the movie would be an indifferently directed (Phyllida Lloyd made her directorial debut with Mamma Mia) worshipful story of a girl who wanted to make a difference and who did so surmounting many odds. Mamma Mia Meryl, you did it again!
The Iron Lady
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Cast: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent
Storyline: A story of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Bottomline: Streep's mesmeric performance carries the film through