Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Iron Lady

Rating: 4
Release Date: 2nd March, 2012 (in India)
Time: 105 minutes
Director: Phyllida Lloyd; Writer: Abi Morgan; Music : Thomas Newman
Starring: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbrent, Anthony Head, Richard E Grant, Alexandra Roach, Harry Lloyd

If I was watching a movie about the first woman PM of the Western world, the person who broke the trade unions, defied Europe, fought a war over Falklands and helped dismantle the Eastern Bloc, I would want the movie to focus on things I don’t already know. What in her upbringing, her circumstances, put the steel in her ? The ability to take tough calls, unwaveringly, unhesitatingly. And to know more about the unseen side, the personal side of the above events – what was her thought process, what opposition did she face, what were the circumstances leading to things coming to a head ?

However, this film, for some strange reason, decides to focus more on the Old Mrs Thatcher (MT), who is suffering from memory loss, who is still mourning for her husband, missing her wayward son and is a shadow of the person who transformed a nation. It merely skims past the above historic events, showing them in an extremely shallow fashion, and at the end we are left none the wiser…

Meryl Streep is brilliant, but when has she not been so ? Even fluffy films like ‘Its Complicated’ and ‘Julie & Julia’ show us how lucky we are to have this chameleonic performer in our midst and in this she seems to get the mannerisms of MT bang on. Jim Broadbent is very good as you would expect. And there are no other characters really shown or built in the film.
The Falklands, for instance, is the only situation which is shown in some detail. The opposition within her cabinet. The debate with the American secretary. It was interesting for the brief while it lasted. However what made her reputation was facing up to the trade unions. This gets just a few mentions in the film.. The IRA, apart from a couple of bombings shown, gets zero screen time. Her role with the end of the Cold War (it was after all the Soviets who gave her the titular sobriquet) almost zero.

Even on the personal side, while it hints at some minor discord between her husband and herself, and an issue with her daughter and a much bigger one with her son, it is again just the briefest of glimpses with no depth at all.
Misplaced focus. Its sad that the brilliance of the film poster doesn’t translate into celluloid. Instead of feeling awe for her, her leadership, her style, we instead feel depressed for the withering impact of age on her. Would rather have seen the inspirational side of her. The side that earned her the nickname, Iron Lady.

1 comment:

  1. Pradeep11:50 AM

    I had exactly the same thoughts when I saw the film. A great opportunity to make a wonderful film. Ridiculously failed at it.