The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady

The story of Margaret Thatcher, a woman who smashed through the barriers of gender and class to be heard in a male-dominated world. The story concerns power and the price that is paid for power, and is a surprising and intimate portrait of an extraordinary and complex woman. 3.1 out of 5 based on 20 reviews
The Iron Lady

Omniscore:

Certificate 12A
Genre Biography, Drama
Director Phyllida Lloyd
Cast Jim Broadbent, Roger Allam, Richard E. Grant Meryl Streep
Studio Pathe
Release Date January 2012
Running Time 105 mins
 

The story of Margaret Thatcher, a woman who smashed through the barriers of gender and class to be heard in a male-dominated world. The story concerns power and the price that is paid for power, and is a surprising and intimate portrait of an extraordinary and complex woman.

Reviews

The Evening Standard

David Sexton

Eliminating the politics, symphonically endorsing her rise in a man's world while plangently focusing on the losses in age all must endure - brilliantly snookers all those who want to hate her. How can any feminist be against the story shown here? Even when she begins to behave not just autocratically but almost insanely in Cabinet, it can be excused as the first onset of the dementia that has reduced her now to a wreck of herself.

06/01/2012

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

Streep does the youngish/middle-aged Thatcher as brilliantly as the old. This isn’t “just” acting ... The performer’s whole spiritual motor seems to have been set to the subject’s speed, swapping tempo, all but swapping engine parts, high-performance Meryl for high-performance Maggie. An act of imagination, empathy and a kind of possessory passion.

05/01/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Robbie Collin

Some viewers may be disappointed that a Thatcher biopic lacks an explicit political agenda, but the film succeeds as a drama for that very reason. Lloyd and Morgan have no intention of immortalising their subject: in fact, they do just the opposite, which those with an axe to grind will find even less palatable. They make her fully human.

05/01/2012

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The Observer

Philip French

What we do have is a study of the process of ageing, fading powers, doubt, disappointment and loss that will come to most of us ... Breathtaking in its detail and nuance, its subtle gestures and inflections, this multifaceted jewel of a portrait is altogether grander than the commonplace setting of the film.

08/01/2012

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Time Magazine

Richard Corliss

Thatcher’s political accomplishments, or crimes and misdemeanors, occupy less than half of this brisk biopic. The Iron Lady is essentially the love story of a woman and her late husband, an On Golden Pond—or In Gilded Suite—but with Katharine Hepburn romancing and bantering with a dead Henry Fonda.

29/12/2011

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The Los Angeles Times

Betsy Sharkey

What helps elevate the film is the searing insight Streep brings to Thatcher's aging; she catches every one of the emotional crosscurrents that get to the truth of the matter. But if you come expecting keen insight into the intrigues of her very long political life, or even something as simple as why the Soviets dubbed her the Iron Lady, consider a trip to the library instead.

30/12/2011

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Empire Magazine

Dan Jolin

It would be a welcome thing indeed if both [Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent] — and Olivia Colman, excellent as daughter Carol — could be cast again in an alternative Thatcher movie by a different, spikier director. Oliver Stone perhaps?

02/01/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

Basically, this is a defanged, declawed, depoliticised Margaret Thatcher, whom we are invited to admire on the feeble grounds that she is tougher and gutsier than the men. Yet on the rare occasions when the film does allow her to become nastily political, this Margaret comes alive.

05/01/2012

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

As a portrait of Thatcher, we are in good hands. As a portrait of Thatcherism, however – of the era and its discontents – it feels about as reliable as an MP's expenses claim. The director Phyllida Lloyd and writer Abi Morgan may not be card-carrying Tories, but they present the tumultuous years of Thatcher's premiership (1979-1990) in a manner that could only soothe the party faithful. No peep of guilt, no shadow of regret, is allowed to spoil the procession.

06/01/2012

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Time Out

Trevor Johnston

Yes, there’s some acting to admire here, and you have to give the whole production credit for having the balls to take this on in the first place, yet the lack of a clear controlling vision deprives the drama of genuine cumulative impact. Streep’s Mrs T is at various times an ambitious Tory firebrand, a leader who makes the tough decisions Britain needs, an aloof egomaniac, a doddery old dear. The film’s often for, sometimes against, ultimately a bit wishy-washy.

05/01/2012

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The Times

Kate Muir

The Iron Lady is the handiwork of women, interpreting a strange hybrid political creature who preferred the company of men. So while the story appears to be from Mrs Thatcher’s point of view, it is not how she would have seen it. The shallowness grates, whatever your politics. Mrs Thatcher’s steely intellectualism is all too often thrown into fuzzy focus, and her cabinet ministers have mere bit parts.

04/01/2012

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Total Film

Kate Stables

Stripped down, the story’s primarily an enjoyably shiny setting for Streep’s jaw-droppingly brilliant performance. Less an impersonation than an uncanny recreation, she captures Thatcher perfectly, from her hectoring heyday to her stubbornly steely dotage.

22/11/2011

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The Independent on Sunday

Jonathan Romney

British though it is, The Iron Lady feels American in its fixation on strength of character, on the pursuit of personal destiny. Thatcher is simply the woman who stuck to her guns and, right or wrong, is at least admired for her resolve. And even if the script doesn't tell us outright to revere her, Thomas Newton's predictably soaring score implicitly does just that.

08/01/2012

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The Sunday Telegraph

Jenny McCartney

Phyllida Lloyd’s film, despite its questionable structure, is a pungent and visually elegant reminder not only of the ferocity of the Eighties, but also the sense in which Mrs Thatcher was unusually prepared to be hated at close quarters.

08/01/2012

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The Sunday Times

Cosmo Landesman

The film has nothing to say about her legacy, but it does implicitly criticise contemporary British politics. You go into this film expecting to hate Margaret Thatcher, but instead come out hating the political pygmies of the present. The Iron Lady asks us to admire its subject because she embodied the kind of courageous conviction politics we have lost. Thatcher is shown as resolute, refusing to compromise or fudge issues of right and wrong — and, in this, the film is rather naive about the realities of politics and the realities of Thatcher.

08/01/2012

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The New York Times

A. O. Scott

“The Iron Lady ... makes a particular hash of British history, compressing social and economic turmoil into a shorthand that resembles a chronologically scrambled British version of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” (Miners’ strike/Falklands War/I can’t take it any more ... .)

29/12/2012

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Screen

Mark Adams

Meryl Streep’s wonderful performance is the film’s driving force and she manages to capture Thatcher’s determined stare ... Her towering performance goes some way in papering over Phyllida Lloyd’s workmanlike direction that delivers a film that is affectionate rather than investigative and romantic rather than realistic.

23/12/2011

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The New Yorker

David Denby

Despite Streep’s eloquence and wit, however, this bio-pic ... is brutally misconceived. A good forty per cent is devoted to Thatcher in her confused dotage. Why? Thatcher may have been wrong about many things and personally dislikable, even insufferable, but she changed the culture of Britain, so why undermine her in this way?

02/01/2012

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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

It consistently, and predictably, sacrifices complexity and depth in order to pretend that Margaret Thatcher was something she never set out to be, a feminist icon. That, of course, is not why she deserves commemoration. She deserves to be studied because she was right about so many things, and carried out her public duties despite hysterical abuse from most of the political and media establishment. Small wonder this is what interests these film-makers least.

06/01/2012

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

Its most contentious creative leap is to tell the story in flashback, framed with multiple scenes of the former Prime Minister wandering around her Belgravia town house, half-senile, chatting to the ghost of deceased husband Denis as she clears out his things. In interviews Lloyd has rather fancifully compared this approach to King Lear. Sadly the end result isn’t Shakespeare, although it is tragic – and for all the wrong reasons, not least of which is the sense of missed opportunity that it leaves you with.

05/01/2012

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