158 of 185 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing Performance
I saw The Iron Lady right before it was widely released, and felt that expectations that Meryl Streep's performance would be incredible were fully justified. Having seen her in many roles, this was not surprising--she's widely regarded as one of the greatest living actresses--but her transformation here into an elderly woman, including the accent, the makeup, the...
Published on December 21, 2011 by Poogy
388 of 440 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A movie maker's ambivalence about her subject.
I saw this movie last night and I was looking forward to seeing it. I don't count myself as a fan of Thatcher's politics, but I do admire her as a person. She had an important role in the fall of the Soviet states and in transforming the American political role in the world. Therefore, I hoped to enjoy a biographical movie that of course would include much of the usual...
Published on January 15, 2012 by Anthony Sanchez
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gravely disappointed,
This review is from: Iron Lady (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
I was really looking forward to this movie to get the back story behind the achievements of this remarkable woman: How she got into Oxford (a woman!) in the 50s, how she graduated from one of the toughest universities in the world, how she broke into the man's world of British politics, became prime minister, and how she turned around a country on the brink of bankruptcy. Unfortunately, none of this story was told. Half the movie was spent on hallucinations the filmmakers attributed to her later years. What about her life! They even glossed over her intense relationship with US President Ronald Reagan with nothing more than a dance. I was gravely disappointed.
59 of 76 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing,
Like some of the other reviewers, I, too, wanted and expected to see many highlights of Margaret Thatcher's life and career. There was very little of that. It seemed like 90% of the movie was spent showing her elderly state of dementia. Yes, Meryl Streep did a superb acting job, as always. But I walked out of the theatre wishing I had not wasted my money watching it. What a huge disappointment.
88 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I have done battle every single day of my life.",
Some reviewers have panned "The Iron Lady," directed by Phyllida Lloyd from a screenplay by Abi Morgan. They resent the filmmakers' portrayal of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, one of the most controversial political figures of the twentieth century, as an elderly woman in decline. Lloyd shows Thatcher having hallucinations, during which she converses with her departed husband, Denis. She is forgetful, distracted, and lives more in the past than in the present. Other critics have suggested that "The Iron Lady" gives short shrift to Thatcher's political career, placing too much emphasis on her personality and her relationship with family and colleagues.
It is unfair to condemn the movie that Lloyd and Morgan should have made. "The Iron Lady" is not meant to be a conventional biopic that focuses solely on how Thatcher's conservative policies affected Great Britain between 1979 and 1990. Lloyd and Morgan have a different purpose in mind--to examine what drove Margaret Roberts to embark on a political career; the difficulties she faced juggling marriage, parenthood, and her busy work schedule; and the price that she (and some might say her country) paid for her stubborn adherence to what she considered to be non-negotiable principles. We observe Thatcher's life through the prism of her memories, as she recalls events from her girlhood, courtship with Denis, and turbulent years in office.
Meryl Streep is exceptional as Margaret Thatcher. Her facial expressions, carriage, and voice perfectly convey Thatcher's ambition, single-mindedness, and determination. Streep also reveals her subject's flaws: Thatcher could be petty, unfeeling, and domineering. The most poignant and memorable scenes depict Mrs. Thatcher more than two decades after she retired as frightened, confused, lonely, and preoccupied with bygone events. Jim Broadbent is superb as Denis, who applauded his wife's triumphs but resented her bossiness and obstinacy. There are wonderfully humorous moments and some scenes that may reduce the audience to tears. The movie is not perfect. At times the script and the score are heavy-handed and manipulative. However, most viewers will understand if not empathize with the grocer's daughter who attended Oxford and went on to govern Great Britain for over a decade. Right or wrong, she was destined to make history.
61 of 80 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing mediocre biopic unworthy of Margaret Thatcher,
Margaret Thatcher is one of the towering historical figures of the 20th Century. Despite humble origins, she rose to be the United Kingdom's first female prime minister, and the longest serving prime minister of the 20th century. She took the reins of power in London at a time when the British economy had been decimated by decades of extremist Labor Party policies (anyone remember when Britain nationalized just about every possible industry driving the British automotive and motorcycle industries into the ground?). Her policies brought the English economy from the depths of recession to dynamic growth. Arguably, she did as much as Ronald Reagan in leading the West to a bloodless victory in the Cold War. As a historical figure of such importance Margaret Thatcher deserves to be the subject of a great biographical film. The Iron Lady is not that film. In fact...Not only is The Iron Lady not a great movie, it's not even a particularly good movie.
The Iron Lady seems to be very poorly structured. Not having read the book on which it's based I can't tell if the fault lies with the writing, the directing, or the source material. Here were have a movie about one of the most important historical movies of the 20th Century and at least 40 minutes of the movie seems to concentrate on Thatcher the elderly woman in the grips of dementia. We get to see her buying milk, going to the doctor, and hallucinating that her husband Dennis Thatcher is still alive. We get to see her finally clean out his closet and send all his clothes to Goodwill (or the British equivalent). We get to see her daughter and staff worry about her and fuss over her. And this goes on and on.
Watching this movie was an exercise in patience. I wanted to see a biopic that told the story of Margaret Roberts, the daughter of a humble shopkeeper who rose to be the most powerful female leader in the world. I wanted to see how she developed her political philosophy. I wanted to see how she dealt with crisis. But all these parts of her life were no more than touched on, and only then in flashbacks. Alexandra Roach did a great job playing the young Margaret Roberts, a shopkeeper's daughter who got accepted to Oxford University. I wanted to see a lot more of her. But every time that (or any) part of the story seemed to be getting interesting the flashback ended and the audience is taken back to modern day to watch a senile old woman argue with her dead husband. At another point one of her close friend is murdered by an IRA bomb, but do we get to see how she deals with this? No. Immediately the flashback ends and we're back to watching a senile old woman again. Every important moment depicted in the movies is presented the same way, as a short flashback, and totally out of context, that ends just as it's about to get interesting.
The complete and utter failure of this movie may have a lot to do with the choice of Meryl Streep to play Thatcher. With such an A-list character actress as a leading lady, the director and writers structured the movie to highlight Streep's acting, not to highlight the life of the person Streep was portraying. That seems to be the only explanation for why we only got a see a couple moments of Alexandra Roach's wonderful portrayal of the young Margaret Roberts, and a tedious 40 plus minutes of Streep splaying a Thatcher as a senile old woman.
All in all, The Iron Lady is a disappointing mediocre movie that fails as a biopic and fails as historical fiction. If you go in expecting a movie anywhere near as good as The King's Speech, you will be sorely disappointed. Hopefully, someday, someone will make a great biopic about Margaret Thatcher.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BORING Amazon Purchase,
Despite the talent of Meryl Streep and the many other performances which I have enjoyed by her, I was totally disapointed. This movie does not live up to the rave reviews received by many. I was also disappointed with the historical aspect of this film, where there appears to be great spans of Mrs. Thatcher's life omitted with way too much attention towards her decling years. The Devil Wears Prada still remains my favorite Streep movie.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Iron Lady insulted!,
This movie is a travesty. I bought it unseen because Meryl Streep is one of my favorite actresses and I anticipated a great story about a great lady and one of the best Prime Ministers Britain has ever had. Instead what I got was an insult to the memory and history of this woman. The movie focuses far too much on her illness after she retired from government service, and very little on the substance and successes of her time in office. I'm sure Meryl Streep deserved her Oscar for her acting since she was very convincing as the Margaret Thatcher I remember in office, but she's not responsible for the content and the ridiculous way the movie kept jumping about from one time period to another. If you are buying this as a historical portrait of a fine leader, then give it a pass. If it's a diary of a fallen heroine suffering the misery of senile dementia you're looking for then enjoy!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Obscure and unrelentingly ambiguous,
If I knew nothing about Margaret Thatcher I would not have learned anything of significance from this film except that old age can be a negative, lonely experience where you have constant, quick glimpses of segments in your life. Yes, this movie was like a bad dream and Margaret was old 90% of the time. Not even engagingly old, charming, wise or humorous. There was no positive to it. I give Meryl Streep a 10 for her taking this part in such an unremarkable movie, probably trying to save it and the director a -1 for not developing the character(s) at all. And who in the world wrote it??? I could get more from a book report. There were so many flash-backs and flash-forwards there was no time to make a commitment, judgment or emotional connection to the character, or anyone for that matter. I kept thinking from the beginning, "it's the directors fault, whoever directed this doesn't like Margaret Thatcher." It was one of those movies, you know the kind, where you can tell right away it isn't going to get better.
Even for a political film it was disappointing. Where are Margaret Thatchers rousing speeches that made the people of England rise up and vote for her? None were in this film. Snatches of her philosophy that "your life should count for something" was in the script but how she made a poignant difference is not, there is a void, again, her legacy is missing. Some of it is 'mentioned', but mentioning is a far cry from feeling her successes. The Trailer preview is an absolute lie! You think the movie will be about a great woman, the First Woman Prime Minister of England! It's going to be exciting, glorious and uplifting!!! That's the lie. The Hair-do in the Trailer, the Confident, In Control Margaret Thatcher?: she's not in this movie. You do get to see her hallucinatory old age thru the whole uneventful thing, with dead husband Dennis showing up constantly, but again, no warmth is felt although you can say intellectually he loved her. Big deal. I don't know about you but I watch movies to be moved in some way.
If you watch this movie all you'll feel is regret and that you should write a review to warn others. Dennis was a happily encouraging and playful sort, but again, too much, wearily too much of him so that he became an overbearing nuisance early on. The camera angles were strange and dizzying adding nothing to the bland, passionless scenes. Meryl Streep did not have even ONE instance to really shine and show her remarkable talent, not one time, that's how bad this script is. Because if anyone can pull off and save a bad scene it's Meryl, but there was nothing to work with. Most scenes are in seconds, so look fast... The ending was apropos; don't worry I'm not spoiling anything... she walks down her hall in her house for no apparent reason, we don't know why, we don't care by now, because the movie said nothing and lead up to even less.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 1/2 stars are for Streep, herself,
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"The Iron Lady" is, for want of a better term, simply the wrong movie.
Imagine this: You are making the first major film about Al Capone who, no matter what else, led a fascinating life until he died of syphillis. What would be your thrust?
If you said you'd devote the major emphasis of your film to an in-depth study of syphilis, this is the film for you.
Margaret Thatcher, whether you loved her or hated her, was easily one of the most fascinating human beings of the latter half of the 20th century.
She is, at this writing, in the final stages of Alzheimer's.
At some point in time, we might REALLY want to know about the effects of the disease on her and her family. It would certainly be interesting.
But first, shouldn't we be given the story of her life? Shouldn't THAT be the thrust of the first major film about her?
Yes, we see her "in action"; yes, we see some of the high points of her career... in brief.
But the main thrust of the film is her (sadly, losing) battle with the disease.
Add to that, the same flaccid directorial touch that Phyllida Lloyd brought to "Mamma Mia" (ABBA may be kitsch, but you have to work hard to make ABBA dull), and you have the makings of a very dreary movie with (yes, it's required to say) Meryl Streep's (usual) brilliant performance as its only saving grace.
The really sad thing is, this could have been one of the great bios.
All that was needed was to jack up Streep and put another script and director under her.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Obviously made by someone who hates Maggie Thatcher.,
What a disappointment!! If you know anything about late 20th century, you would conclude that Maggie Thatcher was a towering figure in shaping the cold war history. Even a heroic figure to many who lived under Eastern Europe's communist dictatorship!
How can you call this movie as her 'biography'?
It is absolutely clear that this movie is made by someone who hates Ms Thatcher. The camera takes a joy, an utter delight in showing her suffering as an old, decrepit, confused person. THAT is what the movie wants to impress the viewers on! Whenever there is a brief segment about her triumph as a politician or as a powerful woman, the movie always, and IMMEDIATELY, goes back to Thatcher as an ill and lonely old pensioner! Even the cover photo of Thatcher looks very unflattering. Why didn't the movie makers use the picture of her as old pensioner staggering along a lonely, cold street as the cover? That would have been more representative of this movie!!!
In summary, new generation of young people may ask, 'Who is the 'Iron Lady'? Why is she call that?'. The movie quickly answers, 'Oh, she is nobody. She is an old, decrepit, demented pensioner who sometimes has these wild flashbacks of delusion about her past'.
And you call this a biopic? Just horrible. Absolutely horrible.
The fact that Meryl Streep took the main role in this movie tells me that she IS the deluded fool about the cold war history. I hope someone with less personal hatred in his or her heart can do some justice to the great life of Baroness Maggie Thatcher.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not good for Streep,
I don't have a problem with Meryl Streep. She turned in her usual outstanding performance and deserves the Oscar. Certainly she didn't have much to work with. The screenplay was awful!
The movie opens with Thatcher as an elderly woman. Then it flashes back to her childhood, when she got into Oxford and when she met Denis Thatcher. My problem is the back and forth between elderly woman and MP and Prime Minister. They spent too much time on her as an elderly woman and less on her rise in Parliament. Also, they kept bringing Denis' ghost back after he died and that really confused things!
Don't waste your money buying this. Nothing against Streep, but she should have had some input into the screenplay. They didn't touch much on her political career at all. They didn't explore her friendship with Reagan or her relationship with the Queen. Get this on DVD. It's not worth the money and I wish I hadn't bouught it. I couldn't even finish it!
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Iron Lady (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) by Phyllida Lloyd (Blu-ray - 2012)