Meryl Streep may have been nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, but Argentine critics have panned the film during its premiere in Buenos Aires.
The film opened in Argentine cinemas amid a furore over the Falkland Islands, over which Thatcher's Britain and Argentina fought a brief war 30 years ago.
In the movie, Thatcher is shown ordering the sinking of the Argentine warship Belgrano, which killed 323 sailors and remains controversial because the ship was considered to be outside the war zone.
She also dismisses the entreaties of the American ambassador to settle the dispute peacefully, suggesting that as a woman, she has had to "go to war every day" to maintain her hold on power. Reducing the decision to wage war to a question of feminism "is absurd, to say the least", the newspaper Clarin wrote in a review.
Others praised Streep's acting, but panned the script as mediocre. "A character so controversial for her own citizens, the citizens of the world and especially for Argentines, Thatcher deserves a better movie," huffed La Nacion.
Buenos Aires and London have escalated a war of words ahead of the anniversary of the Argentine dictatorship's ill-fated invasion of the islands on April 2, 1982. More than 900 soldiers and sailors were killed on both sides by the time Britain seized them back.
The movie tries to humanise Thatcher, but "it didn't fool me", said Mario Huguet, 75, a psychoanalyst who called her a word unfit for publication after seeing the premiere. "It presents her as a senile grandmother, but the Argentine dictators also got to be old and pitiful."
Huguet's wife, Nora, also 75 and retired, said they saw the movie because she loves Streep. "She's wonderful. But it didn't change my opinion of Thatcher."
Britain has sent one of its most advanced warships, the HMS Dauntless, to the islands, as well as Prince William, a Royal Air Force helicopter pilot, ahead of the anniversary.
Argentine Vice President Amado Boudou said that Britain has falsely accused his South American country of threatening another invasion in order to distract Britons from their economic worries.
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