THE IRON LADY (2011)

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Director: Phyllida Lloyd
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 105 min.

Margaret Thatcher was never content to sit on the sidelines.  After years of hard work that moved her from her father’s blue-collar world into the highest ranks of the Conservative Party, she rose to power as Britain’s first female prime minister and became famous for the uncompromising approach to politics that earned her both respect and many enemies.  Years after her retirement, Margaret remembers key events in her past, reflects on who she was and who she has become, and struggles with hallucinations of her late husband.

The Iron Lady is all about the acting.  As always, Meryl Streep’s performance is flawless, and particularly noteworthy in such a character-driven film,  The chronology is, at times, difficult to follow (intentionally, I believe), but the plot is not the focus.  This movie is for viewers who like character studies, especially nuanced imaginings of the inner thoughts and character development of well known political and historical figures.  But the film transcends its historical and political subject matter.  The most powerful themes of the film spring from the portrayal of Margaret Thatcher’s marriage–an exploration of love, sacrifice, loss, and the transience of youth.  I agree with the Academy on this one: although other films of 2011 were better overall, The Iron Lady is a powerful story, driven by Meryl Streep’s nuanced portrayal of Margaret Thatcher.

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