It’s a shock to see former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, as portrayed by Meryl Streep, as an old lady buying milk at the corner store as the film opens. It’s also incredibly believable, so good is Streep’s performance (and make-up and prosthetics).
But at the same time it sums up what’s wrong with the movie. Streep is magnificent and certainly deserved her Oscar for Best Actress. You should see the movie for her performance alone.
However, the movie itself leaves you yearning to know more about this woman who defied all the odds and the male conservative party establishment to become party leader and prime minister for three terms. While you learn a bit about her youth working in the family store, her inspiring father and acceptance at Oxford, the movie doesn’t give you enough.
You leave the theatre wanting to know more about how she did it, see more scenes of her amazing career and understand more about the politics of her time. There are snippets of the fights with the miners’ unions and the Falkland War, but way too many scenes of her in her advancing senility, conversing with the ghost of her husband Denis (played by Jim Broadbent).
Streep, at least, suggests her commanding presence. Apparently, Thatcher could dominate a room or a meeting, but the movie doesn’t help you understand how she did it. You don’t come away feeling you know this intriguing person.
Rating: three deer out of five
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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.