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3.5 out of 5 stars
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When I think about this movie I am filled with a sense of inner conflict.

On the one hand I am highly impressed with Meryl Streep's performance, for which she has at long last and deservedly won her third Academy Award after a 30 year gap, and after being nominated for the Academy Award a record seventeen times.

Once every two years she is nominated for an Academy Award. Only Katharine Hepburn has more with four.

Other directors have made movies about our leading political figures. Often these movies are not flattering portraits. Oliver Stone made a satirical comedy about G W Bush, which I found highly entertaining, somewhat of a caricature. Michael Moore made a far more scathing movie Fahrenheit 911. Then we have Primary Colors where where John Travolta played a played a Presidential candidate much like president Clinton. Stone also directed Nixon, a somewhat sympathetic picture of a character many regarded as villainous. Even though these portraits were not flattering you could detect some love or least amusement for the subject.

Now with Iron Lady, we have a movie which defines its subject through the lens of disease, presumably Alzheimer's, although it never states the exact disease. The movie starts out promisingly enough with Thatcher, the grocers daughter, buying a bottle of milk, unrecognised and confused at a local grocery store.

Streep conveys every nuance of Thatcher extremely well. The actor truly becomes the character, capturing, the tone, the accent, the gestures, the body language impeccably.

What happens though, as you continue to watch, too much of the story is frittered away on depicting Thatcher as she is now, her disease, imaginary conversations with her long dead husband, living in the past, with occasional flashbacks, to the significant events of her political life, the romance with Denis, her rise to power, the various crises while she was in office, terrorist attacks, the Falklands War, the H Block protest, which escalated the tensions in Northern Irealnd, and so forth, and ultimately her fall from grace.

I found this focus on defining the character by her disease extremely annoying and tiresome, and a huge mistake by the screenwriters to spend almost 50% of the time focusing on the disease while while forwarding through the significant events. The Faklands war is compressed to about five minutes. The H Block protests last about thirty seconds.

I lived in the UK for the latter part of her leadership. Her insistence on an unpopular tax was the beginning of her downfall, and the cause of her being deposed as leader through the usual shenanigans. Here again we have very short treatment of what could have been great drama in favor of promoting the disease.

When this movie was released several months ago in Argentina, it reportedly escalated tensions in Argentina. A journalist in the Falklands made an unflattering comment about the current female president. There were threats of invasion, and death threats against the journalist. It appears that she knows how to work the situation. Thankfully, this movie did not start a war.

Iron Lady could have been a much better movie with a shift in focus away from the disease.

Recently, I listened to an interview Streep did on the (NPR Fresh Air program), shortly before the Oscars. It was fascinating to learn how she puts together a character, and how she captured all those aspects of Thatcher's voice and rhetoric, the vocal coaching Thatcher underwent to moderate the strident early vocal style. How Thatcher had enormous lung power. People would wait for a break in breath to interrupt, but she would just keep going, much to their frustration. It discussed Streep's entire career. It was extremely well researched. Catch it if you can.

I think most people will appreciate Streep's performance, but probably will not like the movie overall. I will not watch this movie again. I hope that future screenwriters and directors will have more sympathy and sensitivity for their subject than this.

If not for Streeps performance this would be a one star review. Her longtime hairstylist also won an Oscar for this movie.

Hope this was helpful.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 11, 2012
Meryl Streep stars in this bio pic of Margaret Thatcher as the elderly lady, suffering from dementia, remembers key moments of her past. We see young Margaret, a grocer's daughter, in her first political campaign, when she meets her beloved husband (later played by Jim Broadbent), and her eleven years as Prime Minister with its struggles and triumphs; but mostly, we see her deteriorating health and increasing frailty.

I was absolutely stunned by Streep's impersonation of Thatcher; aided by incredibly believable make-up, she looks and sounds just like her and gives a thrilling performance. It is an example of the finest acting and I'm glad she was rewarded with an Oscar, but I wish the role had been played by a British actress instead. Jim Broadbent, as Denis Thatcher, plays his usual, jovial character and, while very likable, reminded me of silly Horace Slughorn from `Harry Potter.'

The script was underwhelming in scenes depicting Thatcher's public life, but it was excellent in the very moving scenes of her current life as a delicate, rather pathetic, old lady. All in all, I enjoyed it but think it could have been better.
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It seems we can't just can't have a normal biographical movie anymore without flashbacks. The flashback style is done for the purpose of showing us how events in someone's past effected their later decisions. Seeing the retired senile Margaret Thatcher was really unnecessary to this film. Can you imagine a Reagan biography starting out with a senile Reagan not knowing he is no longer president and talking to dead people? Unfortunately the senility scenes are needed so we can get to know the character of Marget Thatcher because the main biography part is poorly done with an over abundance of "red meat" sound bites.

To make matters worse, the film then employs this technique during the flashback so there is a flashback within the flashback.

I liked the young Margaret Roberts (Alexandra Roach) growing up in a man's world where the expectations of women were to stay out of business and politics. Her bucking the system was inspirational and it would have been a better film had we seen more of this and less of Margaret thinking her husband was still alive.

The meat of the film picks up when she is the Education Secretary of the conservative party. England is facing a union strike crippling the nation. Marget doesn't like her party's leadership and decides to run for the leader of the Conservative Party. She correctly places herself in the hands of professions who tweak her for national appeal, including working on her shrill voice...but she keeps the pearls.

The movie relates to today. England was in a recession and people couldn't pay their mortgage. Margret wanted to cut government spending in the midst of a recession contrary to everyone else, including her own party who worries about re-election. I expected to see a "Paid for by Ron Paul" after that speech.

For me, the film becomes watchable when Thatcher has to weigh her decision to go to war over the Falkland Islands. Streep gives us some wonderful performances. But when I see Matthew Marsh miscast as Alexander Haig, I have to ask, "What were they thinking?"

I went into this film thinking "5 stars" but reality set in as they killed this film on the editing floor. Horrifically edited and badly written. Whose idea was it really to have Streep walk around in an old house coat with messed up hair looking acting like Edith Bunker? The scenes of Streep moving through a crowd of faces, speaking her thoughts was another idea that failed. The soundtrack during the file footage scenes was terrible. Streep had a few strong scenes, but not enough to save this film. My advice: read the book.

No f-bombs, no sex, brief nudity on file footage.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon November 25, 2013
This film had a great title and great actors and lots of money thrown at it. So what went wrong? What went wrong, is that someone does not know how to make a movie. You might think that they were trying to be artsy-fartsy; however I think it was a thorough lack of movie making skills.

For those who lived through the era they would be disappointed because nothing of any interest or any of the special highlights of Margret's life was displayed. I personally did not mind what was not shown. It was their hodgepodge chopped up moved back and forth through time inconsistent nonsense that not only ruined this film but any film they would've made on any subject. I put the blame squarely on Phyllida Lloyd - Director, Abi Morgan - Writer (screenplay), Damian Jones - Producer, Elliot Davis - Cinematographer, Thomas Newman - Composer, Simon Elliott - Production Designer, and Justine Wright - Editor.

To keep you from having to guess what I'm talking about and actually watch snippets of this movie I'll tell you. As filler it shows a ditzy old Margret played by Meryl Streep who flashes back in time to have the real story "snippets of her life" displayed played by Alexandra Roach. Alexander does all the real parts in Meryl Streep gets the "Saturday Night Live parts."
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on September 12, 2015
Streep is totally Margaret Thatcher, at least in appearance and accent, unrecognisable as Meryl. Another tour de force for her. The movie itself has her as an old lady (post PM years) looking back on her rise to power. I'm not sure how interesting or understandable it would be to someone who was not English and/or did not understand English politics. It's mostly dwells on her move up through the ranks of the Conservative Party at a time when when no other woman had a seat in Parliament; there seemed little about her years in power — battles with the unions, friendship with Reagan or the effect on her family.
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on April 30, 2013
I ordered several movies from Amazon.ca, and couldn't believe how fast they arrived at my door. The price was right. I watched "The Iron Lady" last night and enjoyed every minute of the movie. I am so happy that I bought it so I can enjoy it again whenever I please. Always seem to enjoy a movie the 2nd or 3rd time watching it to get all the details, etc. Meryl Streep was superb in her role as Margaret Thatcher and I am so glad she won the Academy Award for her terrific performance. Will be sure to order more movies from Amazon.ca, as the service was first-class.
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As someone who has considerable respect for the historical and political achievements of Dame Thatcher, I found this movie to be a fitting tribute to her life. While the acting talent of Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent as the two main stars in this 'biopic', make this movie a winner, there are other features that make it stand out. One, it provides some useful insights into who Thatcher was and what she became long before the Russians nicknamed her "The Iron Lady". She is cast as an individual who had a vision to become successful the old-fashioned way: hard work, honesty, decency, and determination. Two, the film provides a decent description of the obstacles she had to overcome in order to stand out in a predominately male world. Three, the viewer gets to see how Thatcher catapulted on to the political stage as a seemingly sibylline figure with a timely message for a failing British society: less government, more personal initiative. Four, the film, while hallmarking her successes in getting Britain back to respectability internationally, offers us a sobering glimpse at her downside. She could be mean, churlish, stubborn and hard-bitten in how she chose to deal with colleagues within her cabinet. When her monetarist policies started to backfire in 1990, the caucus turned on her as it did with Heath back in 1977. Five, Thatcher is the narrator in the story who is reflecting on those halcyon days when nothing could go wrong because her beloved husband Denis was beside her and the British people were buying into her privatization schemes. Tragically, her retrospective view has become befuddled by early onset dementia. I recommend this movie to anyone who wants to get a good overview on the life of a very clear-thinking but stubborn leader who came along at the right time and exited because of her unwillingness to change over public policy. I, also, recommend the second volume in her autobiography, "The Downing Street Years".
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on July 14, 2013
Iron Lady.... Streep's performance is masterful. For a complete review, read the review by L. Power, which is very well written, I agree with every word and therefore there is no reason to repeat what has already been so very well stated. Iron Lady - powerful performance by M. Streep earning her a well deserved Oscar. The script?? questionable, disrespectful.. sad.
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on January 13, 2014
I'm sure that a great deal of artistic liberty was taken for this movie. However, I liked the respectful humanising of Margaret Thatcher and her family. And well, Meryl is Meryl.
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on April 14, 2013
Meryl Streep is amazing in this movie. I just wish the writers/producers would have balanced the movie with more of the accomplishments of Margaret Thatcher vs her declining years.
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