Biopics are the darlings of the Oscars. Never is it more a sure thing when an actor plays a real life character, because everybody knows what they were really like and if the actor can get even close, they are up for an Oscar. I think Meryl Streep has this in the bag!
The best thing about this movie is the acting and the make-up. Don’t get me wrong, it was certainly an interesting movie and depicted an interesting woman, but Meryl got that accent perfect, she embodied the Baroness Margaret Thatcher both in her prime and as a doddering old lady reflecting back on her life, missing her deceased husband.
The movie starts off with a withered old lady buying a pint of milk and complaining about the price. Just like we all do. Then when she gets back to her home we realise she has snuck out and escaped her detail and that she has become quite the frail old lady. I think that was the saddest part about this movie is that, we all remember Margaret Thatcher as the, well, Iron Lady, love her or hate her, who changed the face of English politics with her no nonsense policies of getting rid of all the things dragging the government down, whether that was good for England or not was a matter of debate but she certainly made her mark. What she is now though is a completely different thing and I think the start of this movie demonstrated that in a very poignant way.
Nobody recognised her, nobody cared. Aside from the occasional mixer with dignitaries, Margaret Thatcher is more in the news when she goes to the doctors for a checkup than for any other reason. I liked the flashback style of the movie. It was fitting with the overall feel of an old woman looking back on her life. She certainly had a lot to look back on, although with the way she was talking to dead Dennis at the start I thought they might even make it a love story but they didn’t. It was an extrememely personal view of the Thatcher years obviously and it did indeed gloss over several things, I think the IRA bombings certainly didn’t get much of a look in except for where they affected Margaret personally.
This mostly hit home for me because when I was living in England I was looking after a little old lady with dementia. She had been a prominent member for her local parliament and had been a strong proponent of women in the workforce in her time. She had been reduded to babbling about the old times and it was extremely sad to see her like this, and I wasn’t even her family. I think that seeing Margaret Thatcher reduced to someone so impotent after all her power was very sad, I can see why tyrants grip on until their last breath.
All in all it was a good movie, not too political, more about the personal journey of a very strong minded woman, making it in the world of men. A lot of the visual images were showing that very strongly. There were a couple that stuck out. One was of all the members filing into parliament, there was a sea of black suits and one colourful blue suit which was Margaret, and then there was the shot of all the mens shoes sitting in the commons and one single pair of heels.
Whatever you say or think about Thatcher, she was a game changer for women’s rights, she was a proponent of doing it for yourself and she had no patience for slackers and whingers. It would be interesting to see how long she would stay in government in today’s society. Certainly not 10 years I don’t think.