When it was announced that Meryl Streep would be playing the part of Maggie Thatcher and the first trailers hit the cinemas, every filmfan around the world was buzzing with excitment and rightfully so as it turns out. Streep’s performance is magical and shows her amazing skill in her chosen craft. Her performance alone makes this film worth watching. That, plus the great support by the ever-great Jim Broadbent.
The film in itself does not dare to trod away from the common ground, broken in by Hollywood Bio-Pics in the last few decades. The structure of the whole film is so obvious and pre-determined that you can always tell what happens next. Established the background and motivation of the whole character in 2 minutes ? Check. Show the reservation of all men to let her into the world of politics apart from her loving husband ? Check. Her struggle to get into the conservative party ? Check. The list goes on and just like a TV series, the film is a linear assemly of problems that the prime minister overcomes time and time again by means of her iron (!) determination and belief in doing the right thing.
I think it is couragoues to show the former prime minister in such a state of deteroiated mental health, then again, it makes the film much more engaging but also blurs the line between our evaluation of her role as prime minister and Margaret the mother, wife and ultiamtely human being. Many people have complained about this approah, but I found it refreshing and it is the paradox of the human condition that we will frequently learn of people with whom we disagree on a political level but can relate to on a human level.
Due to the sensationalist nature of the film, it could not be helped that Maggie comes across as a thoroughly positive protagonist in the film, overcoming obstacles, standing her ground, being a woman in the lion’s den etc. and while it may work as a narrative (although it makes the film quite cheesy in parts), it is also a dangerous thing to take all the ‘facts’ as face value as the film is pretty inaccurate in parts as far as the historic context(s) are concerned.
Still, as a film depicting the life of Mrs. Thatcher, it does work and I cannot see how it could have been done any better. Whether it is possible to make a film about a person like her that is both entertaining, accurate and preferably opinionated is another question but for now, I am quite happy with the result.