Until this week, most of the talk about the upcoming film The Iron Lady has centred upon it “tastelessly” portraying our former PM as a deluded old lady who has lost the plot. Now, thankfully, the caravan seems to be moving on and this exciting film is getting the kind of analysis it truly deserves.
Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady
Yesterday Meryl Streep, who plays Thatcher, alongside Jim Broadbent (Dennis Thatcher) and Richard E. Grant (Michael Heseltine) was in London to launch the film’s full trailer and a poster to announce it. The entire film itself was also showcased to a selected audience – sadly I wasn’t amongst that group.
The trailer’s opening scenes portray a frail Lady Thatcher shuffling across a zebra crossing unsupervised and without security (which I recognise as being the intersection of Lowndes Street, Cadogan Place and West Halkin Street). Other scenes are said to show her imagining her husband Sir Denis is still alive and conducting conversations with him. These are exactly the kind of things that have come in for criticism but they are precisely what make Lady Thatcher so real and are sadly also a reflection of the toll of recent years have had upon her.
Lady Thatcher (Meryl Streep) out shopping for milk in Belgravia
There is also said to be a scene in the film where Margaret Thatcher is at present day dinner party and she states: “I don’t like coalitions” after another guest points out the current Prime Minister is doing well. The Tory party are plainly afraid of what damage this film could do to their “New Blue” reputation but they should celebrate what looks to be an excellent portrayal of one of their best ever leaders.
Friends of the former Prime Minister have come out issuing statements calling the drama a “Left-wing fantasy” and Lord Bell, a former key adviser to the Prime Minister during the 1980s, curtly stated: “I cannot be bothered to sensationalise this rubbish.”
In today’s Daily Mail, Baz Bamigboye, who saw it yesterday, takes an alternative view on The Iron Lady:
“I have no doubt, that this will come to be seen as magnificent portrait of Lady Thatcher… The film’s certainly not the Left-wing propaganda many feared when the movie was first announced more than two years ago… Streep should win an Oscar for the Thatcher voice alone, not just for the incredible transformation.”
Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in Cabinet in The Iron Lady
Left-wing American actress Meryl Streep was attacked as an “inappropriate choice” when cast. Now, she’s said to have come to “admire” Lady Thatcher and commented:
“You want people who are willing to find a solution. I admire the fact that she was a “love-me-or-hate-me” kind of leader who said: ‘This is what I stand for.’ It’s a hard thing to do and no one’s doing that now.”
“It took a lot out of me, but it was a privilege to play her, it really was… I still don’t agree with a lot of her policies. But I feel she believed in them and that they came from an honest conviction, and that she wasn’t a cosmetic politician just changing make-up to suit the times.”
Meryl Streep unveils the poster for The Iron Lady in Central London, 14th November 2010
The Iron Lady, written by Abi Morgan (The Hour and Sex Traffic) and directed by Phyllidia Loyd (Mamma Mia!), is released in UK cinemas on 6th January 2012.
Whilst The Lady never turned, Meryl Streep sure has.
For more information and to watch the full length trailer go to: http://www.theironladymovie.co.uk
Follow the Iron Lady Movie on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/IronLadyFilm