Streep Delivers Oscar-Quality Performance
Impersonating Brit PM
The Iron Lady
Rated PG-13 for violent images and brief nudity.
Running time: 105 minutes
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:Phyllida Lloyd
Written By:Abi Morgan, Michael Hirst
The Weinstein Co.
Over the course of her illustrious career, Meryl Streep has landed more
Academy Award nominations (16 and counting) than any other thespian in
history. Blessed not only with an enviable emotional range but a knack for
feigning foreign accents and regional dialects, the versatile actress has
repeatedly demonstrated an uncanny ability to disappear into whatever role
she’s been asked to play.
Such is again the case with The Iron Lady, a comprehensive biopic about
Margaret Thatcher, who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1979
to 1990. The movie was directed by Phyllida Lloyd who previously
collaborated with Streep in 2008 on Mamma Mia!
Meryl will undoubtedly garner another well-deserved Oscar nomination for her
spot-on impersonation of the imperious icon’s public persona, from the
pursed lips to the steely demeanor to the haughty tone of voice. She further
rose to the challenge of a demanding assignment which also called for her to
capture the character’s recent descent into dementia, a dotage which has
ostensibly been marked by hallucinations and semi-lucid ramblings.
Unfortunately, Streep’s sterling performance here has been squandered in
service of an overambitious screenplay by Abi Morgan which attempts to bite
off more than it could possibly chew in less than two hours. As a result,
the film fails to do justice to the touchstones in Thatcher’s life and
career, tending to tease rather than address the material in depth.
Constructed as a series of flashbacks, it takes superficial looks at
everything from her coming of age during World War II to her college days at
Oxford to her marriage to Denis Thatcher (Jim Broadbent) to their starting a
family to her developing a feminist consciousness to her entering politics.
The bulk of the film’s focus is devoted to her tempestuous tenure at Number
10 Downing Street, a period marked by both domestic and international unrest
courtesy of the Irish Republican Army and a war in the Falkland Islands,
Overall, this empathetic portrait paints the Prime Minister as a headstrong
conservative as dedicated to her family as to her country. But by the film’s
end, we really haven’t learned much memorably about Maggie beyond her
enduring love for the devoted husband who predeceased her.
A potentially-underwhelming production elevated singlehandedly by another
tour de force turned in by the ever-astounding Meryl Streep.