Film Review: The Iron Lady

by Becky Mezzanotte

After seeing Meryl Streep win the Golden Globe for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, I knew it was a movie that I should see. So, on a cold Saturday night, my friend Jackie and I ventured out to see it.

The Iron Lady tells the story of Margaret Thatcher from the very start of her political career to the end. Most traditional autobiographical films are told chronologically, but this film was told in a very different fashion. It is told through flashbacks that are triggered by Thatcher’s involvement with objects around her home and the hallucination of her husband who has been dead for years. This style of story telling took what could have been a rather boring event-to-event style story and gave it life and intrigue as the audience tries to figure out how Thatcher’s life progressed.

Streep’s performance in the film is absolutely extraordinary. She deserves that Golden Globe. She is able to transform herself from playing Thatcher as an elderly woman with hallucinations to playing Thatcher in her prime effortlessly. Her posture, her voice, and her speech patterns change as she moves between the two versions of the same character. It was truly amazing to watch.

The performance of the other actors as well, particularly Jim Broadbenttruly made this movie something spectacular. Similar to Streep, Broadbent has the task of moving between ages as he plays Thatcher’s husband, Dennis. Broadbent also accomplishes this task effortlessly. I can’t forget the performances of Anthony Head, who plays Geoffrey Howe, the Deputy Prime Minister; Richard E. Grant, who plays Michael Heseltine; and Olivia Colman, who plays Carol Thatcher, Margaret’s daughter. All of their performances, while nowhere near as massive in size as Streep’s or Broadbent’s, are integral to the telling of the story.

While the performances in the film were spectacular, many of the other aspects of the film were less so. For the most part, the cinematography in the film was rather gorgeous. I really loved that the filmmakers chose to shoot certain scenes while using actual footage from real events for others. My biggest problem, however, was that some of the footage was out of focus and quite obviously shot on different film. The difference was noticeable enough that occasionally I thought it might have been two different films sliced together. In short, I would have liked more consistency between the two styles, but I do understand that it was a choice. Some parts of the story were also rushed through in various montage sequences, but this is the nature of telling almost an entire life story in a short period of time. Sadly, the score was unmemorable as well.

Overall, The Iron Lady is a film worth seeing even though it is not perfect While not someone who actually knows this portion of British history, the story itself is told in a compelling and fascinating way. The performances by the actors are notable and enough to keep the audience invested in the story alone, and it is fair to say that you do not necessarily need to know the history to follow the story.

(Note: A version of this review is cross-posted on Becky Mezzanotte’s personal blog Twists and Turns.)

(The film poster is from the Weinstein Company and Dimension Films and is used here for promotional purposes.  To see a trailer for the film, please check below.)

About As Directed By Becky

Becky Mezzanotte (or Becky Mezz as she is often called) has been described as a paper crane amidst a world of boxes. Or rather she cannot be defined in any sort of neatly packaged way. Becky is a beauty pageant contestant turned ballerina turned musician turned actor turned filmmaker/photographer turned graduate of American University from the International Media program. A Baltimore native, she has lived in Prague, the Czech Republic, Cairo, Egypt and of course Washington, DC. In her free time, Becky can be found writing television/movie scripts (which she hopes to someday have produced), reading books, obsessing over Korean and British TV shows, making fake blood, or possibly re-enacting the American Civil War.
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4 Responses to Film Review: The Iron Lady

  1. Pingback: Film Review: The Iron Lady | Twists and Turns

  2. CMrok93 says:

    Streep’s performance is so true and so uncannily accurate, so full and so complete in its understanding, that she is fascinating every second she is onscreen. As for the film itself, the structure is a bit off and the screenplay doesn’t really give us much else other than a history lesson, but a good history lesson at that. Nice review Becky.

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