The Iron lady – Nothing to see but Meryl Streep

“Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become…habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become. My father always said that… and I think I am fine.”

One of the most exciting things about this film is that THE name is back on the radar again, and people will stop calling Fletcher!  I hope!

There’s not much in The Iron Lady  – unless you’re a huge Meryl Streep fan.  Meryl Streep really is as good as everyone is saying.  I’m fond of the woman, so I don’t mean to be unkind, but I did read a review tonight that said Meryl Streep makes sure she never works with a director who is more talented than her – and i am inclined to agree with that assessment. She has certainly achieved that here. This film is nothing (absolutely NOTHING) but a chance for Meryl Streep to show you how well she can portray Margaret Thatcher. And in that, the film delivers in spades. ]

The film shows Margaret Thatcher as an ailing widow dealing with issues of grief as she has to clean her husband, Denis’ things several years after he has died. The grief is affecting her dramatically. So much so that the people around her fear it is bringing on early dementia. As an example of the stoic way she ran her life, and the country of Great Britain, she takes her grief on alone and conquers it, revealing the iron core for which she is famous.  The story of her life, tossed at us in thin vignettes that never get to the heart of anything, is played out in flashbacks that are more about ‘the woman’ than the politician.

In fact, no matter which side of politics you hail from you will be disappointed with this film. Social leaning lefties will be unhappy with the way this woman is portrayed as a sweet, funny lady, who might have ruled with an iron fist, but was still so cute and ultimately lovable. This film completely glosses over the complexities of her political career. Conservatives will be disappointed with the way the woman is portrayed as never being in touch with any of her decisions  standing instead by bumper sticker style idioms such as “We stand on principle” and “lets put the great back into Britain.” Margaret Thatcher is shown to be completely out of touch with the people here; a kind of Ayn Rand adoring, woman hating bumbler. She may have been the most hated Prime Minister in the history of her country, but George bush the second she aint.

There are some almost nice moments. A lovely minute where she tips Denis’ shoes out of the cupboard amidst memories of the weakness of the men around her. Any woman who has ever tried to get anything done with ‘men’ will understand what is being said here, but like other great moments in the film, this goes underexplored.

As we all sort of suspected, the power in this film goes to Meryl Streep. She really is great, and when the actress is this amazing, and the subject matter this interesting, does anything else have to happen?