Oscar-winner ‘The Iron Lady’

Courtesy of telegraphy.blogspot.com

Courtesy of telegraphy.blogspot.com

Courtesy of telegraphy.blogspot.com

Meryl Streep is without a doubt the greatest living American screen actress. That said, her career choices are suspect to intense criticism. While she has strung together decades of brilliant performances, they are often in subpar films. Around Oscar time, the Onion released a story in which Streep claimed that she has never been in a good film. That’s overstatement of course, but “The Iron Lady” can be added to the long list of “what were you thinkings?”

“The Iron Lady” can quite simply and completely be described as the Margaret Thatcher biopic. Told with a broken-line narrative, “The Iron Lady” gives Lady Streep as much time in 80-year-old woman makeup as it does in Thatcher’s political career.

Streep is excellent. Let’s not let that get lost. But I was a bit underwhelmed by the performance. Do not be deceived by the Oscar win. This is not one of Streep’s better efforts. It’s a spot-on Thatcher impression, but that’s all really. A deflated script by Abi Morgan gives Thatcher little emotional range, little doubt. Her biggest trial is dementia, which, considering Thatcher’s political career, is uninteresting.

The film glosses over details of Thatcher’s controversial Prime Minister regime as if it were scared of the Iron Lady herself. (Lest we forget, of course, that “The Iron Lady” was not a kind nomer). Instead, it gives screen time to large gestures and trailer-ready speeches. This is a lazy film, seemingly designed entirely to get Streep Oscar #3 and not interested in its subject matter at all.

It glosses over Thatcher’s decisions as Prime Minister and does not question the implications of her transformation into, basically, a man. Instead of taking the open invitation to question the position of women in politics or the effects of the conservative Thatcher regime upon Britain, “The Iron Lady” is so scattered it becomes tone deaf. This is a really awful film.