Greetings again from the darkness. So many are up in arms about what this movie isn’t, that they have lost sight of what it is. If you are expecting a political drama and biography detailing the finer points of one of the most impactful and controversial world leaders in history, you will undoubtedly be disappointed. If instead, you accept this as a creative way to tell a story and glimpse at a once powerful person struggling with her place in history, while simultaneously fighting the daily battle against Alzheimer’s, then you too will be satisfied with more than the towering performance of Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher.
Lady Thatcher is one of most controversial political figures in modern history. Pundits fall to pro or con in regards to her 3 terms (11 years) as British Prime Minister. Writer Abi Morgan (Shame) and director Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia) don’t take a side in the argument. Instead they offer us the viewpoint of an elderly Lady Thatcher struggling to avoid “going mad”. Her daily battle includes numerous flashbacks to specific moments and events. Through these episodes, we take a quick trip through history … almost a Cliff’s Notes version. Additionally, we witness how she regularly “sees” and speaks with her husband Denis (Jim Broadbent). Yes, he died years ago. It seems she realizes this, but enjoys the comfort of having him nearby.
During the flashbacks, we get a feel for her early onset political ambition, which evidently came from her dad the grocer (and small town politician). He encouraged her to work hard, be different and think for herself, while never backing down from her beliefs. This seems hard-wired into her personality through the years as she fights the male establishment and climbs the “greasy pole” of British parliament.
The brief segments on the Falkland Islands, Parliamentary debates, and tough Labor Union stance will probably leave you wanting more details on how she negotiated her way through some very unpopular decisions. The best suggestion is to read some of the endless stream of documentation in print regarding her time in office. But don’t let that distract you from an unusual and interesting film. Plus, you certainly want to catch another world-class performance from, whom I consider, the greatest actress in film history.
SEE THIS MOVIE IF: you want to see an accurate and insightful personal look at a once powerful world leader who is stuggling with Dementia/Alzheimers and her place in history OR you want to see yet another stunning performance from the great Meryl Streep
SKIP THIS MOVIE IF: you are looking for a documentary style historical biography on Margaret Thatcher
watch the trailer: