With its sympathetic look at one of Britain’s most controversial political leaders, it’s a red flag to the liberal bulls of the country, not helped by the fact it’s released in an era of the Conservatives back in Parliament and the current Prime Minster angering Argentina for his comments on the Falklands. But it would be dubious to ‘slag off’ the film for being potential right-wing cinema, the dumbing down of the politics behind cinema to black and white just as mindless as times as the jingoism the film could be accused of. Also it doesn’t explain why films like The Birth of A Nation are celebrated despite being legitimately suspect in their politics; The Iron Lady should not be compared to that film, but the example is perfect at showing how dismissal for films like this are redundant when far more controversial movies may slip by unnoticed. Interestingly, just by looking online, the controversy is more for the portrayal of Thatcher with dementia from the Conservative Party itself, either showing a surprising lack of life in liberals or that they’ve decided to ignore it.
What the film is a praisable attempt to try and understand the individual, which its portrayal of an aged Thatcher, with a surprising supernatural tone, does well. Yes, its whimsical nature is questionable, both against the moments of darkness (images of riots and the IRA bombing of Brighton hotel) and the amount of events and individuals it skims past such as Ronald Regan, but from the director of Mamma Mia!, it was clear she wanted to avoid to more dour biopic it could have been. The sad part about this is that, while the film is good, it will be forgotten immediately as a few years pass. Also in just seeing her performance in just one film, it questions the concept of Meryl Streep as the ‘greatest’ actress in existence, which is also sad because her performance is great and is the biggest reason the film has virtues to it. That problem should probably be laid at the feet at the Academy Awards. That Streep joked about the amount of people rolling their eyes when she won the Oscar in her acceptance speech, while carefree, should be taken as advice for the Academy to think outside the box. Either that or I need to watch more of her performances and be proven wrong. – 6/10