Tuesday, April 16, 2013

THE IRON LADY

Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent

"Never Compromise"

HBO


With the recent passing of Lady Margaret Thatcher, her controversial biopic is being shown repeatedly on HBO.  It was controversial as her family and some friends of the late Prime Minister view the film as an insult to her legacy.   

Although she is portrayed brilliantly by Meryl Streep, the movie presents Thatcher in her older years as suffering from dementia. She often talks to the spirit of her beloved husband, Sir Denis who died several years ago.  Their conversations recall her political years through burst of flashbacks, from her first entry into a political party to her rise as Britain's first woman Prime Minister.

This biopic also explores her personal struggle as she ventures into an arena which was mostly dominated by men. She also had a difficult time balancing her life as a mother/wife and her role as the first and so far only woman UK Prime Minister.   Governing during a period of great turmoil both locally (mining incident and the IRA) and internationally (the Cold War and the Falkland War), her decisions and her policies were not always welcomed by her countrymen.   

Yet she thrived mainly due to her strong willed and principled personality and never compromise once she made up her mind.  She is quoted as saying: "One of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas."  She was a thinker, lacking what we now call the EQ (emotional quotient) factor, and her 11 year tenure as Prime Minister survived because of that trait.

It is quite hard to make a biopic about an iconic yet controversial figure who made great strides in the world of politics as well as an individual.  But Meryl Streep succeeded in humanizing a much lionized figure. She was Margaret Thatcher in every sense of the word and she deserves praise for her performance.  

Despite its failings, (one should have a fair knowledge about the important events which shaped the history of Britain during her reign), The Iron Lady remains an interesting biopic about an extraordinary woman and offers an excellent showcase of Meryl Streep’s astonishing abilities as a top notch actress.

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