Tuesday, February 21, 2012

IRON LADY


IRON LADY is the story of Margaret Thatcher. I was a little afraid to see it because I had heard so many good things about Meryl Streep's performance, but I hear that about every movie she's in, and I thought the star power might harm the movie.

I was wrong, Streep is the best thing about the movie, and she falls into character so invisibly that it is not at all distracting. Her makeup is excellent as well. In fact, the whole cast is outstanding, including Jim Broadbent as her husband, and the actors playing the younger versions of the couple.

Strangely, the script is the biggest weakness of the film. If this had been an HBO movie, it would probably be sweeping the Emmys, but on the big screen, this small of a script falls quite flat. A huge percentage of the movie uses the terrible framing device of an elderly Margaret Thatcher meandering about her apartment mumbling to herself. This is about as non-cinematic as you can get. I was shocked to see that it was not based on a play, as I assumed all of the lazy writing had been done to economize a live production. Instead we get A-list talent in production value that seems appropriate for a high-school play.

Given all that happened in her life, it would have been nice to open up the film to a few exteriors and let some of the actual history happen visibly, rather than in a few flashing news clips flying by. The rest of the country's history seems invisible as well, and her relationship with Reagan is hardly mentioned except for one quick image of them dancing, and a short scene with an actor who looks nothing like Al Haig. An occasional subtitle with a year attached might have been nice as well as Americans don't know much of her history within Britain.

Nonetheless it is still a must-see for the acting.
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