For once, the critics have it right. “It’s a world class performance in search of a film,” says one post on Rotten Tomatoes.
Impossible to do justice to the monumental career of Margaret Thatcher in a little under two hours, The Iron Lady glances over the significant highlights of Thatcher’s career with barely more than a host of photo ops. We never get much motivation on which to chew. This film is much more about the cruel and heart breaking realities of aging, no matter the earlier successes.
Meryl Streep is beyond brilliant as she captures Thatcher’s mannerisms. One minute her eyes flash with anger as she adjusts her bracelet, then next they show her devastating defeat; then we see her confusion as she struggles to grasp what’s happening to her as she ages. But alone in the last scenes, her indomitable spirit shines through as she narrows her eyes and straightens her posture, ready to face the horror of her creeping dementia.
If you expect an accurate portrayal of her significant political accomplishments you’ll be disappointed in the substance of the story. If you expect a gentle treatment of one’s inevitable decline, you’ll be impressed. But either way, Streep’s performance is a tour de force.
How ironic that both Thatcher and Regan, great friends and champions of the free world, should have faced such similar final chapters.