Nah, this isn’t a review on some candy or chocolate (although I’m such a sweet tooth). Its a review on a 2011 movie which has made its way into my ‘top inspiring movies list’. Its a review on ‘The Iron Lady’.
Written by: Abi Morgan
Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd
Stars: Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada, Mamma Mia!), Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter, Bridget Jones’ Diary), Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Merlin)
Meryl Streep has always been one of my favorites in Hollywood since the day I saw ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and then ‘Mamma Mia!’ (also written by Abi Morgan). Two movies with such different roles portrayed by Meryl. Its not just the characters she plays that intrigue me, but the soothing way she shows the emotions in all her parts through her speech, demeanor and eyes. I must say, she’s pretty good at that.
Now, ‘The Iron Lady’ isn’t a movie that would keep people on their toes, itching to go join the long ticket queue at the cinemas (remember ‘The Avengers?’) Not atall. But I was drawn to it solely because Meryl not just featured, but was the main act in it. And boy, am I not surprised it got her the 2011 Academy Award for ‘Best Actress’.
‘The Iron Lady’ is an autobiography on Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the year 1990. It depicts her as an aged woman struggling with dementia who hallucinates the presence of her now late husband, Denis Thatcher, and has continuous flashbacks of her rise to her political acclaim. From being a daughter of a ‘mere’ grocer who however had a passion for politics, she rose into being a member a snobbish male-dominated Tory party (following her admission into the University of Oxford), finding a seat in the House of Commons, along with businessman Denis Thatcher’s marriage proposal to her. Her struggles to fit in as a “Lady Member” of the House, as Education Secretary in Edward Heath’s cabinet, her decision to stand for Leader of the Conservative Party, and her voice coaching and image change are all given a wider perspective in the plot.
Further flashbacks examine historical events during her time as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom which include the rising unemployment related to her monetarist policies and the tight 1981 budget, the Brixton Riots of 1981, the miners’ strike of 1984–5, and the bombing of the Grand Hotel during the 1984 Conservative Party Conference. Her decision to retake the Falkland Islands following the islands’ invasion by Argentina in 1982, the sinking of the ARA General Belgrano and Britain’s subsequent victory in the Falklands War.
By 1990 Thatcher’s relationship with her Cabinet had strained due to their irreconcilable opinions concerning the Community Charge (the “Poll Tax”). Her deputy Geoffrey Howe resignes after being humiliated by her in a Cabinet meeting, Michael Heseltine challenges her for the party leadership and her loss of support from her Cabinet colleagues leaves her little choice but to resign as Prime Minister, about which she is shown as still angry and bitter twenty years later.
She eventually ‘packs up’ her memories of her husband by packing his things and telling him to ‘leave’.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking, ‘Ugh..what a bore!’…but trust me, its quite educative and eye-opening.
I’ve never (emphasis on the word ‘never’) been a ‘fan’ of Politics, but after seeing Meryl Streep do what she knows how to do best, I just had to google up Margaret and relate her history to the movie script.
I must duff my hat to the script writer and director too because they portrayed Meryl in a light I never would have imagined…genius indeed.
Alright, let me give you in a nutshell, a personal outline of what impressed me in ‘The Iron Lady’:
First, The Signature.
There was a scene where Margaret (Meryl) was signing a stack of her autobiography books titled ‘The Iron Lady’. I took note of her signature and I noticed that it pretty much matched Margaret’s displayed on her biography page in Wikipedia. That shows the director was keen on detailing, and that gives an edge to any work compared to others…nice one Phyllida! *wink*
Alright, the second ouline is The Margaret Act.
We all obviously know that Margaret was a hardnut to crack so seeing Meryl portray that kind of character caused me to give her an impressive nod. I’ve always been used to seeing Meryl take parts that show warmth and softness (except in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ though) so I most certainly was taken aback at her tough display in this one.
Several scenes I just couldn’t help replaying to watch her snap her fingers and give authoritative commands in that high pitched tone like everyone was under her feet…definielty a side of Meryl I didn’t see coming!
And finally, The Margaret EyeOpener.
I never knew how much Margaret Thatcher affected the United Kingdom untill I saw ‘The Iron Lady’. It made me realise how a woman in authority can be rooted to what she believes is best and come out with positive results at the end of the rocky journey.
Meryl’s portrayal made me curious enough to research on that and beyond doubt, I believe no other person would have done a better job at that than Meryl.
So, I guess I’d drop my virtual pen with this quote, as we all bid farewell to a great lady, the Iron lady.
“Yes, the medicine is harsh, but the patient requires it in other to live. Shall we withhold the medicine? No! We are not wrong. We did not seek connection and win in order to manage the decline of a great nation.”- Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher (The Iron Lady, 2011)
Rest In Peace Ma’am…you will always be remembered in our hearts
Margaret and Meryl…M&M