Meryl Streep won the Academy Award for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. I was quite ready to dismiss this drama DVD as yet another Meryl Streep accent movie but it is more than that. The Iron Lady does not quite work but it is worth watching at least once if only for the story and Streep’s performance.
The Iron Lady opens with an elderly Margaret Thatcher buying a pint of milk. She has the beginnings of Alzheimer’s so she and the movie slip between reality and her perception of reality with her husband Dennis still at her side as well as between present time and various past times.
Though director Phyllida Lloyd (who also directed Mamma Mia! of all things) manages not to lose the audience in all those slips, it does become a rather trying experience. What does not help is the great number of semi-heard conversations (voices down the hall, from hazy past, etc) the viewer cannot understand without using the subtitles option. A North-American audience unfamiliar with some of the events portrayed in this drama will feel an additional amount of distance from The Iron Lady.
Ultimately what gets in the way of this movie is its lack of focus. Margaret Thatcher is at the core of The Iron Lady but the core is impossible to find. Events happen but there are no on screen consequences (such as the IRA bombing of the hotel).
I am not sure if this is on the DVD or in the film but there is a very bad image stutter between when Thatcher says “business as usual” and the cut to the Grand Hotel.
Special features include a 12-minute Making Of and a few other negligible featurettes