Plot – An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene – The Iron Lady.
Director – Phyllida Lloyd
Released – 2011
Continuing the excellent working relationship the two shared in Mamma Mia, what makes The Iron Lady such an unmissable movie is the stupendous Oscar-winning performance by Meryl Streep and the interesting direction of Phyllida Lloyd. Taking you on a trip through the life of Margaret Thatcher.
Starting off with her days working in her father’s grocery store right through her rise to one of the most famous or infamous politicians in the world history and right through to her last days when Alzheimer’s takes control, stripping away everything that made her who she was. Though still able to give her daughter Carol (Olivia Colman) the runaround and proving to be just as much of a handful as her days as Britains first female prime minister.
Margaret Thatcher is a highly debatable figure even today, receiving praise and criticism in equal measure. The film doesn’t shy away from this. Though the viewer should note that this isn’t a documentary nor a historical account of her life, but a series of flashbacks and snapshots exploring the life of an extraordinary individual who for better or worse left her mark on political history and showed that a woman can rise to the top in a male-dominated world.
Phyllida Lloyd’s choice to use a non-linear and theatrical filmmaking technique to bring this story to life is admirable, not only does it give Meryl Streep the freedom to fully encaptulate this difficult role, but also heightens the emotional aspects of the picture, flashing back and forth between timelines and mashing them together, in much the same way Thatchers slowly deteriorating brain did.
Thatcher’s life and times were interesting ones and fully deserving of exploration, but I’d argue that this isn’t the film for that, instead, The Iron Lady is more of a personal story examining the last days of a once powerful and imposing figure that delights the viewer irrelevant of their political views and ideologies.