Movie Review: “The Iron Lady”

Written by Rachel Ganzewinkel January 30, 2012

Even the movie title is boring.

The Iron Lady is a movie about Margaret Thatcher, I guess. There are elements of the political icon’s life shown within a frame narrative that makes little to no sense and gives the audience no information as to who she is, why she made the not-so-popular political decisions she did, or even what made her worthy of having an entire movie made about her—with Meryl Streep starring as her.

So…it’s a biopic?

Well, not really. Sure it had moments from Thatcher’s past that were kind of relevant to the role she ended up playing as Prime Minister of Britain, but to be a biography I feel there must be at least a little something that helps us know who Margaret Thatcher is and why she became the person she became. She is a forward woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and being on the outside of the “in” crowd is apparently what pushed this woman to success. However, very little about how she made her decisions is delved into. And how one thinks is a fairly important factor in figuring out who a person is.

There needs to be more than a physical likeness to make it a "biopic"

So…it’s a political movie?

Also, not really. There are some political elements, people debating about issues and there are lots of montages of Thatcher campaigning, but other than that, politics aren’t involved that much.

So…it’s about her life then?

I don’t know. This movie had so little focus it’s not even about the life she led. Again, there are some elements of her life. Margaret Thatcher was a self-isolating person and married a man she loved. That’s about it for her life though. Most of the movie takes place in what is to represent present day, Thatcher elderly and suffering from dementia, as she remembers bits and pieces of her past.

So…what’s the movie about?

I guess it’s about pieces of Margaret Thatcher and how they should assemble correctly to make a whole. But that doesn’t happen. Thatcher is a very strong woman who isn’t afraid of being alone and can stand on her own in politics just like any man. But there are a couple things that contradict that notion. The fact that Thatcher is so stuck on her deceased husband, (she imagines he is still living, eating breakfast and talking with her throughout her days); the fact she can’t let go of her husband points to the contradictory notion this figure faces. For a person who self-proclaims herself as a loner, why is she still so much defined by her man?

This film lacks consistency in most areas, especially tone. There’s a good movie in there somewhere, if only the focus was narrowed more on a specific defining moment. But this film was full of them. There would be random montages of riots when she cut budgets, of things blowing up when she declared war to maintain control of the Falklands, and many, many montages of her saying gems like “Let’s put the ‘great’ back in ‘Great’ Britain” during her campaign. It’s a heavy handed film that pounds you over the head with obvious remarks about a woman’s struggle to succeed in politics.

The only amazingly stupendous thing about this movie is Meryl Streep. Her performance is flawless. She embodies Margaret Thatcher to a tee and Meryl is the only reason anyone should see this movie. Her Best Actress Oscar nomination is well-deserved and will more than likely garner her yet another win.

Other than Meryl Streep’s obviously stunning performance, this movie is dull and lackluster in every way imaginable. The only reason I think Streep even committed to a movie this blah was to play the iconic role of Margaret Thatcher. Or maybe just to get another Oscar nom because it’s been a bit since her last one.

My Rating: 4/10


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About Rachel Ganzewinkel

Rachel loves movies and writing and has found the perfect amalgamation in writing movie reviews for We Eat Films. In between movie watching and the real-life world of work, she enjoys tea, reading, writing, and wearing over-size sweaters (while occassionally doing some of these simultaneously).

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