*Warning: This post may contain spoilers!*
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 Margaret’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 Margaret’s life progressed.
Meryl Streep’s performance in the film was absolutely extraordinary. She deserved that Golden Globe. She was able to transform herself from playing Margaret Thatcher as an elderly woman with hallucinations to playing Margaret 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 Broadbent, truly made this movie something spectacular. Similarly to Streep, Broadbent has the task of moving between ages as he plays Margaret’s husband, Dennis. He too 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 Thatcher’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 of 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 a perfect film. 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 rather spectacular 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.
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