Review – Tim Bragg
Surprise! I have just seen The Iron Lady – and enjoyed it! We drove through moonlit French countryside to arrive at a cinema in a small rural town – not a “hoodie” in sight! Inside it seemed everyone was English but there may have been a French person or too (apart from my wife). Not many of us – the local town supports the cinema and shuts down during the long summer months! So very relaxed.
Most striking was the truly amazing acting by Meryl Streep – both as the Thatcher in power and the Maggie who suffers with, I presume, a form of Alzheimer’s…What was really interesting (and confounding) was that Thatcher is the heroine of the film – set against either the weak, snobbish Tories or the populace “rabble” or the IRA or the “Argies” (bien sur); I felt like I was watching a recruiting sergeant for Thatcherism. Some of her speeches and ability to quote poets was spot on (and to be applauded if accurate)! So…I went in VERY anti – but came away less ardent! I imagine many of you would consider that impossible…Thus is the power of cinema…And so – I heartily recommend – I thought I’d be bored – but I was riveted!
There was an element of ”nostalgia” too I confess…it felt as if those of us who experienced this history were in some way part of the film. Its very nature meant that this history passed quickly and may have seemed slightly glib – but the focus of the film was always the lady herself…I heard later of someone going to see it and overhearing a couple say how it (the film) was her comeuppance and how demeaning it must be. My thoughts were quite the opposite. Her relationship with Dennis (even when she “imagines” him) is very touching. Oft referred to as a “monster” (I have seen this recently on a casual posting on Facebook) – it’s her very humanity that comes across. Interesting. I suppose we’re not used to Maggie having any “good press”, so the shock of this film is for us to look anew, perhaps, at her role in British politics. I was also struck by the debate on the Falklands – and as trouble potentially rears its head again we are forced to consider what action is correct. To defend “freedom” or the “rights of the islanders” is it worth those killed or maimed? This hard decision earned Maggie renewed popularity. Strange how we vacillate isn’t it?
So go and see if you can, or buy the DVD – you might be surprised by your reaction!