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« Festival Wrap - All The Reviews | Main | Showbiz History: Marsha marries Neil, Barbra is "Guilty," and Blue is the Warmest Color »
Thursday
Oct252018

Months of Meryl: The Iron Lady (2011)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

#43 —Margaret Thatcher, the polarizing British prime minister.

MATTHEW: After decades of heavy speculation about when, not if, Meryl Streep would finally win her third Academy Award, the most widely admired actress of all time picked up another trophy for a performance that may best be remembered as a textbook study in How to Win an Oscar. Despite stiff, down-to-the-wire competition from The Help’s eminently deserving Viola Davis, who transcended lackluster material in much the same way that Streep herself did in her most acclaimed tour de force, the actress sailed to victory after a season’s worth of ovations and exposure. The months preceding Streep’s first Oscar win in nearly 30 years found the acting legend accepting her eighth Golden Globe, her fourth New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, her second BAFTA Film Award, her very first Vogue cover story, a Kennedy Center Honors lifetime achievement tribute, and endless publicity concerning one of the most challenging roles of her late career, that of Margaret Thatcher in what should rightfully be called Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady, but might just as suitably be described as Meryl Streep’s The Iron Lady. And when one truly considers the sheer size and notoriety of the role, who could have possibly topped Streep that year? Conversely, when truly considering the actual performance that returned Streep to Oscar glory, away from all the myth/history-making hubbub that surrounded it, one could be forgiven for wondering, Is that all there is?

The only thing more frustrating than this sympathetically humanizing portrait of a hateful conservative harridan is the participation of an extraordinary, broad-minded screen star like Streep in a project so ethically evasive and cinematically muddled. The Iron Lady is a sprawling and swollen piece of historical pageantry that neither outright heroizes nor criticizes its controversial subject, despite its painfully inept efforts at getting inside the mind of a late-in-life Thatcher as she struggles to remember her shameful political past through the fog of mental illness. (Such dubious political equivocacy reaches its absolute nadir in the film’s final moments, when screenwriter Abi Morgan summons up the empathy to applaud the forward-moving resilience of a repressive bigot.) Tasked with visualizing more staid material than Mamma Mia!, Lloyd’s filmmaking has been tamped down significantly from her incompetent musical travesty, retaining that movie’s crazed, rapid-fire editing while still failing to give us any reason why this director should have ever picked up a camera in the first place. Lloyd does Streep no favors nor challenges her beyond the superficial assignment of the role, which is to make us see the actress anew as she buries her own recognizable star persona beneath the even better-known facade of another star, albeit one of contemptible stature.

Lloyd and her cohorts betray an unseemly assumption that we can only be floored by the flashy flexing of Streep’s prized virtuosity, which is the film’s one and only raison d’être. This virtuosity is best showcased in the early, introductory old-age sequences, in which Streep, with the aid of the invaluable J. Roy Helland (rewarded by the Academy for his persuasive work here), mutes herself to the point of rendering her own identity as invisible as it possibly can be, leaving us with an elderly woman who is appropriately fuzzy and even startlingly characterless. In certain shots, Streep’s inscrutable, uncomprehending gaze expertly communicates the disappearance of a once-energetic mind that has left only a vast void in its place. For me, these are the lone peaks of a performance easier to praise for the fact of its existence than for any significant artistic merits.

Are you in agreement that The Iron Lady is nowhere near the most moving and multi-layered of Streep’s canonical turns, despite the Academy enshrining it among them?

 

JOHN: It was never about the performance. After years of Streep being the bridesmaid, it became impossible for voters to overlook this opportunity to give her an overdue third statue. Her Margaret Thatcher is exactly the type of strenuous, showy, and “important” role that garners an Oscar, even if the performance itself cannot hold a candle to Streep’s best work. Although Streep manages a precise feat of mimicry, her Thatcher is all surface technique and no soul beneath, a criticism that has trailed her throughout her career but has seldom been more earned. However, Streep is actually giving two performances in The Iron Lady: one charts the political rise and fall of Margaret Thatcher, and the other concerns an almost anonymous old woman suffering from dementia and reflecting upon her life; the nuance of the latter slightly redeems the bombast of the former. Hallucinating that her dead husband is still alive, fitfully recalling the specifics of her past, and prone to making unsupervised escapes to buy milk, the components of Streep’s old-age performance zero in on the sadness and vulnerability of this woman in her decaying mental state. In effect, this older incarnation is less overwrought and perhaps more sympathetic than Streep’s affected, younger Thatcher.

Sympathy for Margaret “I owe nothing to feminism” Thatcher? Let’s pause. What rankles me more than Streep’s lackluster performance and the inept filmmaking on display in The Iron Lady is the apolitical and feminist treatment lavished on an undeniably significant political career that was otherwise marked by failure and cruelty. It’s easy to sympathize with a historical figure if the specifics of said history are dulled beyond scrutiny; we learn little to nothing about Thatcher’s actual politics as Lloyd and Morgan peddle a feminist reading of her challenging rise to Prime Minister, highlighting the difficulties of being a woman in a field dominated exclusively by men.


Margaret Thatcher, the film claims, was an ambitious woman who struggled to be taken seriously, who, like many women, wanted a happy home and fulfilling career, even as her intelligence and appearance were undermined by scores of conventionally-minded men. It’s a fragmented Working Girl, but about the first female leader of the free world, whose political record of rampant unemployment, disastrous social policies, and taking milk away from school children, goes completely unexplored. We instead learn the bare fact that Margaret Thatcher was a woman, and whether we like her policies or not, she deserves some kind of awe-inspired respect for being the first woman Prime Minister.

In many ways, Thatcher remains the most challenging role of Streep’s career, not because of the heavy prosthetics or the difficult vocal patterns, but because she has rarely played a real-life character this monstrous. Streep remarked in her 2012 Vogue cover story:

With any character I play, where she is me is where I meet her. It’s very easy to set people at arm’s length and judge them. Yes, you can judge the policies and the actions and the shortcomings — but to live inside that body is another thing entirely. And it’s humbling on a certain level and infuriating, just like it is to live in your own body. Because you recognize your own failings, and I have no doubt that she recognized hers.”

Streep’s career has seen her humanize difficult women dissimilar from herself, but in films like A Cry in the Dark, The Manchurian Candidate, and The Devil Wears Prada, there is at least some exploration of her character’s mindset. Nothing about The Iron Lady suggests that Thatcher recognized her own failings, and little in Streep’s performance helped me to understand the interior life of this woman. Maybe this is a tall order to expect from the director of Mamma Mia!, but the more I think about The Iron Lady, the less there is to actually contemplate. Both empty and embarrassing, it’s a film I’m eager to forget, and a performance whose own legacy is best remembered as an Academy Award milestone.

Do you also think that Thatcher is an impossible character to portray either accurately or critically? Could you imagine this performance improved with a different director and writer?


 

MATTHEW: I agree that there are definitely few acting challenges with a greater degree of difficulty than inhabiting a not-so-distant historical figure of immediate physical and vocal recognizability, not to mention general ill-repute. The chances of disappointing an audience — or, more specifically, failing to convince them — remain imposingly high. But it’s not an altogether impossible task, and Streep at least proves up to the task and might have potentially excelled as Thatcher with smarter, tougher-minded collaborators than the hopeless Lloyd and Morgan. It’s not as if others haven’t dazzled with such a challenge.

In 2014, I saw the West End production of Moira Buffini’s Handbagged, a sharp and speculative political parody about “Mags” Thatcher’s meetings with Elizabeth II, in which the British actress Fenella Woolgar played the politician so skillfully and hilariously that she made one forget that there ever was a challenge to begin with. Woolgar, working with material both harder-hitting and tonally dissimilar than The Iron Lady, not only had a downright eerie knack for the physically uncanny — aided, like Streep, by hair and makeup wizards — but also managed, like Streep, to copy Thatcher’s voice to a T, nailing each and every word with the same fruity tone and feathery inflections for which Thatcher became known and ridiculed. Woolgar walked and held herself with the straight-backed and self-serious air of the actual Thatcher while tapping into a full-bodied form of satirization that didn’t rely upon any of the garish affectation of Streep’s much “straighter” take on the same woman. And although her hysterical performance was an unmistakable impersonation of the real figure, Woolgar was still able to reveal troublingly poignant facets of Thatcher through the humor of the piece. She brought the Iron Lady back down to human size in a way that Streep only manages to do when trapped beneath layers of octogenarian-aping prosthetics.


Elsewhere in the movie, Streep never suggests a warm-blooded human being beneath the false teeth, coats of foundation, and crinoline-stiff helmet of hair. When the actress strides through rooms with steely, probing shark eyes and raised chin, she cuts an indomitable figure, no question, but to what end? Instead of fleshing out a person with a pulse, Streep is just striking power poses, used as obvious counterpoints to all the tottering she will later do during the character’s dementia-stricken delusions. Even worse, Streep seems particularly unmindful of her co-stars, including a never more aggravating Jim Broadbent as husband Dennis, manifesting as something like a wrinkled, bothersome Jiminy Cricket, and Olivia Colman as perpetually disappointed daughter Carol. Such inattentiveness is perhaps fitting for a character made all the more unapproachable by her authority, but it’s nonetheless a rare and disappointing choice for an actress who frequently thrives off the energies and camaraderie of her fellow performers. Streep produces a formidable intensity in all of the expected scenes — an Oscar clip-ready tête-à-tête with the U.S. Secretary of State, a cabinet meeting in which an especially truculent Margaret belittles right-hand man Geoffrey Howe — and also in some of the everyday, at-home moments where Morgan’s rote words least deserve her exertion.

But this intensity never derives from within; like so much else in the performance, it’s a fitfully absorbing surface effect, nothing more. That Streep was rewarded for this emotionally obscure and unduly ostentatious characterization, linking her to Margaret Thatcher forevermore within the annals of Oscar history, can only be the result of a voting body that has placed an usual amount of distinction in the dubious act of imitation. By giving Streep her third Oscar for The Iron Lady, rather than, say, Silkwood or Ironweed or Postcards from the Edge or The Bridges of Madison County or Adaptation., the Academy again placed more value in conspicuous technical effort than the alchemical forces of an actor’s soul and imagination. These traits have defined the very best of Streep’s matchless achievements but are entirely undetectable beneath the unyielding armor of Margaret Thatcher.

Next Week: Hope Springs

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Reader Comments (49)

I hate the real character, the perfomance, the movie, and most of all I hate the way she campaigned pretending not to be campaigning.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Best Oscar speech in ages.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Horrible film, I left the cinema feeling quite empty. Streep has her moments but she should have refused such an insipid script and incompetent director.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEoghanMcQ

Ewwwww. Skip this one.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan (the 1st)

Nothing like winning an Oscar to bring out the retroactive hatred and downgrading of a performance. Meryl is superb here, and so is Jim Broadbent. The movie, otherwise, is an offensive disgrace. It alternates between a) Margaret doddering around her home in a dementia-fueled fog, talking to her long-dead husband and b) scene after scene of Margaret saying she's going to do something, and a lot of old men impotently huffing and puffing about "She can't do that, she's - a - woman!" and then showing her doing it, by gum. Absolutely NO context is provided, not even for her disgraceful poll tax maneuvers. We never know if her accomplishments were good, bad or something else. Nowhere is it pointed out that it might be easier for a woman to accomplish something when she's doing the bidding of the reactionary rich and powerful, and not fighting for things like equal pay for women, or paid maternity leaves, for example

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

I had to give it to Phyllida Lloyd in some ways… I mean from ABBA to Thatcher.... that's quite a move.
Did ANYONE had great expectation from this? No, not even me. I do love MM! for what it is, but when I heard Phyllida Loyd directing TIL, I was absolutely sure Meryl will NEVER win her third for this. NEVER.
I don't know.... but I can't stop celebrating it actually. Mostly because I LOVE MM! and if anyone listed all directors Meryl has ever worked with and asked which would be the LEAST of this list to ever get her an Oscar, it's obviously Lloyd. Hardly a nom even. *lol*
The irony of it all. But personally I have to be honest: I LIKE TIL as a movie. It's anything but perfect, but overall I found it surprisingly solid. Can't help it, sorry.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

The performance is fine, even I don’t think it merited a win (I’d have voted for Rooney Mara). What’s really appalling to me is that Kirsten Dunst’s magnificent performance in Melancholia, possibly the best leading-actress turn of the decade, wasn’t even nominated.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJamDenTel

This was one helluva performance, but I've always had a controversial take on both her Best Actress wins. Namely, that I don't particularly care for them. I'd had rather her win for Silkwood and Devil Wears Prada. Don't get me wrong, both SC and TIL fine, but there are other ones I like more from those years. Kramer Vs Kramer is still one of the best Supporting Actress wins of all time, tho.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterChris

When I set aside the Oscar race and win for a moment and ask myself what do I think of this movie? What do I think of Streep in this role ?
I went into the theatre, fearing the worst, and came out thinking it wasn't that bad, but overall was mediocre. It does have it's moments which come mainly from the second part, when we see the aging Thatcher. The vulnerability, the scenes with the doctor and her daughter are the best.
Which brings me to Meryl Streep's performance. No it's not her best, but she did better with this than I expected. ( I wanted Emma Thompson)
Did it portray Margaret Thatcher as the politician I remember with loathing ? No. That movie has yet to be done.
So Streep got her third Oscar for a movie that wasn't her best work, but that happens all the time. Was Crazy Heart the best role Jeff Bridges ever did ? Did Kate Hepburn do her best work for "Someone's coming to Dinner?" As Hepburn once said, "the academy always get's it wrong they give it to you either a year too early or a year too late"
Streep had deserved a third Oscar for years running, and finally won it for this. I just pretend it's for her work since "Sophie's Choice". It's for all of the great work, and that's what the Academy did too.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

I concur with ken s. and Lady Edith

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

I think it's been said before, but the Academy could have rewarded Streep for Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie's Choice, Bridges of Madison County, and The Devil Wears Prada, since those are four of her most memorable performances. But it never works out that way, and was the same for Hepburn, Davis, etc.

As for this movie, I think it has moments but it would have been so much better if it had been directed by a competent filmmaker, like Spielberg or Kathryn Bigelow.

The one scene that I do remember is the "cowardice" scene where she kind of loses it. That is a brilliant little bit, but the movie itself is only semi-successful despite great actors being in it.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

Phyllida Lloyd’s THE IRON LADY is a real trip. It would screen well with Darren Aronofsky’s MOTHER and Ron Howard’s HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

It was an action of violence to witness this win in real time. Glenn and Viola got a dose of what the Academy thinks of nonwhite women in Best Actress and Glenn Close in general. Hoping against hope for course correction.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

@/rtful. Pleas get off the race train!!! You are a ONE NOTE Monotony!!!

St keep winning was just fine.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

"STREEP". sorry.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

The older scenes in the late 80's i'm thinking the "Give Me Your Pen" scene and some of the Old Lady stuff are excellent,the walk,the voice,the way her hands move are tremendously on point where the direction is all over the show,earnest drama,comedy spoof,parody,Mike Leigh,Skits all roll around on the floor like a messy puzzle.

Can we just say how VERY bad Jim Broadbent is in this he turned Dennis into a walking idiot and the man was anything but,Olivia Colman does good stuff as Thatcher's daughter.

The win is ok but Charlize in YA or Colman is Tyrannosaur deserved it on performance alone.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Didn't care for the film at all but the performance was outstanding. Streep deserved all the awards she received for this film. Problem is this is what happens when you don't win for all the performances you really should have. Also, outstanding acceptance speech.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

If anyone needs to know what Rami Malek and Bohemian Rhapsody are like this is the film and performance that it most resemmbles and Malek never get what people the "Oscar Clip" like Streep does.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I think this might be your most powerfully argued write-up yet.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Growing up in 80’s Britain, and still to this day witnessing the consequences of what this woman did to this country, I fucking hate this movie and it’s attempt to portray her sympathetically.
Objectively, yeah sure, Streep deserved a third, and people win Oscars for the right time in their career but wrong movie all the time,I’m not mad at her win in that respect.
But my love for Meryl (and Colman for that matter) just means I wish I could forever erase her (and her) involvement in this film.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJB

There's only so far a performer can go with bad material. Here's a prime example, why I don't think I've ever seen a truly amazing performance in an otherwise bad film. Streep's technical mastery is full on display and she's vehemently committed to the part, but man, what a mess. The film's approach traps Streep and as admirable as she is it's not really a great performance. Her older scenes are an impressive tease of what she could've done when asked more of her.

It's unfortunate that in just 6 years the win has gone down so much in estimation. Streep had it long coming, and there were plenty of instances where she would've been fully deserving. But this win stands as an ugly stain: an Oscar project only remembered for that, Streep being honored for hardly a highlight, and it also deprived an actress from what would've been a history and much better regarded win.

Hopefully Streep can still edge out a fourth for a performance that makes for a much better companion to her wonderful first two wins.

As a sidenote, anyone else feel Streep being rewarded for this seemed to have kicked off a streak of Streep relishing her worst instincts as an actress? August and Into the Woods also showcase some of her least flattering qualities and make for two of her weakest nominations. I'm at least relieved with The Post to see her finally step away from that and into more challenging projects.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlexD

Please remember that during the race Meryl said that Thatcher was a role model for women and then went and campaigned for Hillary. Certain movie stars shouldn't talk about politics if they don't have a clue. Hello, Debra Messing!

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDaya

Let's be frank, Harvey Weinstein bought this award. Such a nasty, vegetative, insulting film... (If you knew nothing about Margaret Thatcher, you couldn't tell if she was a politician of the Left or Right from Ms. Lloyd's "opus".) The starkness by which Viola Davis, Rooney Mara and Glenn Close created fully-rounded characters to the two Weinstein-backed impersonations, competing that year, is mind-boggling. I used to call it Meryl's "Mommie Dearest" -- but that insults the enormous commitment and intensity of Faye Dunaway's performance. Meryl gets accents and intonations just right. And she's semi-moving in the scenes of the elder Thatcher, I grant...

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlan K.

Gawd, this movie. Streep's performance as an old person was amazing and for that, I wasn't opposed to her nomination (did NOT expect a win). But overall, meh, At least it got Olivia Colman and Alexandra Roach some notice.

And what is the deal with Abi Morgan's scripts? I may be an outlier, but I think they're kind of awful; I really hated Shame and Suffragette, Maybe they read better on the page, so quality actors sign up, but... Her latest offering,The Split, is ridiculous.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPam

The most awarded actress in the history of motion pictures and yet she will say and do anything if it gets her more adulation. And she danced to Harvey's song as a debutant.

I fucking hate her.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGlenda

Horrible movie and one of her least memorable performances in my opinion. The only great part was her Oscar speech, very funny and quite moving.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterFerdi

Compared to who won the year after, Meryl's win for The Iron Lady doesn't seem so bad at all.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMike

@JamDenTel-I thought I was the only one that should've felt that Kirsten Dunst was severely overlooked as I thought her performance wasn't just the best performance that year but also one of the most accurate portrayals of depression captured on film.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

This Oscar belongs to Viola.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

"And she danced to Harvey's song as a debutant... I f@king hate her." I don't know why Streep brings out the crazies, maybe all women do, but whatever. Aren't there more important figures with a negative global impact to vilify? She's just a film actress.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJF

I didn't like this film at all when it was new and the years haven't changed my opinion. I think in general Meryl is a very fine actress but I found this performance one of her most studied and artificial.

I hated the whole "She's overdue" narrative to the race that put the Oscar in her hands...nobody who already has two Oscars is overdue for another. That's not to say I don't think that there haven't been other performances besides the ones she won for that were deserving but this one sure wasn't.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Thanks for finally saying what should’ve been said much earlier, beyaccount.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTeppo2

JF - "She's just a film actress" and you're an idiot with a horrible nick.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGlenda

She's just a film actress....


eeeeeeeew that is so patronizing. I'll bet you're white and liberal.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDaya

I actually think this is the best performance ever given in a terrible movie. The film is utter drivel but at least Streep is compelling. What's criminal though is some of the performances that weren't nominated that year versus the ones that were: Juliette Binoche in Certified Copy, Tilda Swinton in We Need To Talk About Kevin, and Olivia Colman in Tyrannosaur.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterevangelina

I am not crazy about Viola either, playing noble negro maid with her usual gravitas. I love Viola, but that performance was like seeing Morgan Freeman playng God without the joke.

If you want to talk about a masterful performance of that Oscar year, we should be discussing Juliette Binoche's towering work in Certified Copy.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

If I had my way, the 2011 Best Actress prize would go to either Juliette Binoche in CERTIFIED COPY, Kirsten Dunset in MELANCHOLIA, or Yoon Jeong-hee in POETRY. All giving three of the greatest performances of the decade.

The rest of my lineup would include two of these:
Charlize Theron, YOUNG ADULT
Charlotte Gainsbourg, MELANCHOLIA
Tilda Swinton, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
Olivia Colman, TYRRANOSAUR


Of the actual Oscar nominees, I haven’t seen Williams or Close. Of the three I’ve seen, I think I prefer Mara. Definitely Davis over Streep.

I didn’t see THE HELP until just a couple years ago. Although I didn’t see it at the time, I was rooting for Viola Davis.

I’m somewhat surprised by her category placement, only because the film focused so much more heavily on the white savior character Scooter played by Emma Stone. Does anyone remember where they placed Stone? Or did they even bother?

I couldn’t find any information. The last time I can recall seeing two actresses both placed in lead on an FYC ad was Hathaway and Streep for THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA.

But Streep in THE IRON LADY. It’s really hard to judge because the film really is atrocious. I’m usually unimpressed with overstudied mimicry (Oldman in DARKEST HOUR, Portman in JACKIE, etc). I remember thinking she was fine at the time. I momentarily excited that she won, only because of the surprise (I predicted Davis) and finally the “Streep’s third” narrative had ended.

Upon reflection, it really is a letdown that it was for this and not something inspired and undeniable like ADAPTATION. or THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA.

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

I know the people here worship Viola Davis but I am adamant she's not deserving of the Oscar. Not even by a hair's breadth.Neither was Streep or any of the other nominees. As pointed out by a couple of commentors - Binoche in Certified Copy and Dunst in Melancholia were the true winners.
Streep was serviceable at best in this trainwreck of a movie, Davis' performance and the movie itself were not even wow-worthy. Mara, Close and Williams were also so-so like Streep and Davis. If I were the Academy, I'll gladly remove these five and replace them with other nominees (Binoche for sure will be one of them).

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJans

Methinks your (and others') extreme distaste of Thatcher's politics may be distorting - or at least slightly coloring - your perception of this performance.

Maybe it's because I'm not British, but even though I, too, think Thatcher's politics and decisions were pretty uniformly terrible, I still found Iron Lady unexpectedly compelling - it's *not* a hagiography, even if it was more sympathetic than deserved - and I thought Streep's performance was fantastic. (I could have done without Jim Broadbent's hovering ghost-husband, however.)

And as for the Oscar, I thought Streep deserved to win over Viola. Yes, I did. But count me among those who would have given it to Kirsten Dunst for "Melancholia." It's criminal she wasn't even nominated!

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

Streep was all technique and no soul. SO TRUE!!
Btw, did anyone read what Julia Roberts said about discrimination against older women in Hollywood? That its was all made-up bull-shit as she had been working for 30 years and had never faced such an issue. God help that woman!

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarcus T

Streep's work in The Iron Lady is one of the best performances in a bad film ever. She's my pick that year.

Academy Award nominees (ranked):
1. Streep
2. Davis
3. Mara
4. Close
5. Williams

Personal Lineup (alphabetical order):
Jessica Chastain - Take Shelter
Viola Davis - The Help
Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Elizabeth Olsen - Martha Marcy May Marlene
Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJuan Carlos Ojano

This always struck me as being, in terms of quality, a particularly run-of-the-mill made-for-HBO level production.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAustin

It was inevitable that Streep would win with that performance and her 30 year gap between Oscar win narrative.
I do not enjoy the quality of the film but do think that Streep pullls off a remarkable transformation and sometime that and a narrative is all that is needed.
Hoping for a 4th

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

No one can possibly imagine how frustrated I was in 2009-10 when she seemed poised to win for “Julie & Julia” but then at the last minute Sandra Bullock stole her thunder and commanded total attention, and took away another chance at Meryl’s 3rd with a mediocre performance which wasn’t Oscar-worthy in the slightest. Not to mention that everyone agreed Bullock wasn’t good enough for an Oscar but they were totally fine with her winning regardless. I was immensely happy when Meryl Streep won 2 years later, and that chain of events I described has KILLED the part of me that cares at who’s expense it came. Remembering she’s a 3-time winner still brings a smile to my face. :)

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGustavo Horn

STREEP: (as Margaret Thatcher) With all due respect, sir, I have done battle every single day of my life. And many men have underestimated me before. This lot seemed bound to do the same, but they will rue the day.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSRB

I don't mind Streep winning an Oscar for this. She's not terrible (the film is). My big problem with her performance is not her fault. That old age makeup did not move well on her face, especially under the cheeks down through her jaw. It needlessly limited her movement and looked like a rubber mask rather than a real person. It still blows my mind that The Iron Lady won makeup over Albert Nobbs, a film with far more transformative makeup that never hindered the ability of the actors to convey emotion.

October 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Could people now that Viola has her Oscar stop pretending she was deserving to win or the Help over Meryl? Her performance was so subtle that it was barely there, not bad on its own right but nothing like Meryl’s who gave her all in astonishingly believable way. And I do not even like Meryl as a person. I it was incredibly impressive how she managed to play every scene perfectly. And Viola’s role in the Help was pretty much a supporting role, it’s just how the film ends and the uncomfortable feeling that a black performers were not the stars of the film makes people think otherwise. Additionally Spencer gave really underrated performance in the film, I am glad she has done brilliantly in her career since.

October 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterChinoiserie

The Latex Lady

October 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRosa Moline

WTF, were you all asleep during history class? Thatcher was instrumental in defeating the Soviet Union, the evilest force of the twentieth century (give or take Mao's Communist Party).

Socialism (the real one, not Bernie Sanders social democracy) is plain EVIL. More people murdered, tortured, exterminated and oppressed (including famished and starved to death) than under any other regime in human history. It made the Nazi Germany look like a kid's party.

Every single person alive in the planet today is better off due to Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachov and the folks who helped bring down the Evil Empire.

It's like reading a bunch of Holocaust deniers, what in the fuckiest of fucks!

November 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

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