REVIEW: 'The Iron Lady' Sees Meryl Streep As Margaret Thatcher - Five Good Reasons To Watch
Meryl Streep has already picked up her first gong - from the New York Critics Circle - for her work as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
The film starts with an unrecognisable Streep as a frail Lady Thatcher in her dotage, talking to her late husband Denis (played by Jim Broadbent), and thinking back over her remarkable life, from her childhood, famously as a grocer's daughter, through her first days in Parliament, her unique position in the 1980s taking on the unions and Northern Ireland opponents on the domestic front, and sending her forces abroad to defend the Falkland Islands.
We see her position change within her own Cabinet from one of absolute authority to increasing vulnerability and isolation, until her husband Denis tells her during her ultimate challenge from within her own party, "It's time to go."
Historians and political observers will have a field day, deconstructing the inaccuracies and partisanship evident in the film - here's HuffPostUK's own take on it, from Political Editor Chris Wimpress.
So just to balance from a strictly Entertainment point of view, here are five good reasons this remains, truth aside, a stonking good piece of drama:
1. Young, newly-married, freshly-elected Margaret Thatcher (played with wide-eyed verve by Alexandra Roach) arriving for her first session at the Houses Of Parliament, her smart court shoes spotted among hundreds of well-polished brogues. The gentlemen look at her strangely before closing the door on their smoking, talking sessions, leaving young Mrs T to push open the door of the 'Ladies room' to see... an ironing board.
2. Mrs Thatcher is persuaded that she has all the qualities for future leadership of the Tory party, if she will only get her look and sound right. This is the cue for a great conversion sequence, following her in the hair salon, the boutique and, best of all, elocution lessons where she learns the distinctive tony of authority that became her trademark. Later we catch a glimpse of her wardrobe, full of hundreds of suspiciously similar looking gowns and suits. Guess which colour?
3. Lady Thatcher is later persuaded by her daughter Carol to attend a medical check-up. The doctor's concerns about his patient's addled mind are quickly put to rest as she tells him, in sparkling rhetoric, why she is not to be worried about. "Feelings are thoughts, thoughts become words, words actions, actions habits, habits character, character destiny. And that is why I feel fine." Fabulous.
4. A determined Mrs Thatcher has to deal with the US Secretary of State, when he arrives in bombastic fashion to question the value of invading a titchy island in the middle of the sea called the Falklands. "Like Hawaii?" she calmly asks.
5. Finally, the over-reach, the hand-in-mouth cringeworthiness of the scene when the long-sitting Prime Minister humiliates her once closest ally, Geoffrey Howe, in front of her entire Cabinet. She corrects his spelling, even breaking a pencil in her disdain. "I wouldn't have spoken like that to my gamekeeper" is the general consensus in the Lobby. Mrs Thatcher has miscalculated, and it is the beginning of the end.
Here's a Slideshow of Meryl Streep and Co at the New York premiere of 'The Iron Lady'...