The Iron Lady

Hitting so many heights yet failing to soar
The Iron Lady
Right. Let’s all please forget politics and just treat Phyllipa Lloyd’s biopic of Margaret Thatcher as a movie. Or even an epic collection of vignettes, hitting so many heights yet failing to soar.

So much is fantastic - Streep, naturally. She defines Thatcher’s character, with maternal grandeur, single-mindedness, tyrannical inclinations and startling softness. Afterwards we wonder if Maggie wasn’t indeed playing Meryl all along, in an uglier world. Sets, lighting and dress, all are sublime from these craftspeople who’ve shone in stellar years for British movies.

We glimpse at vicarious tales. An old lady woefully ignores her daughter (Olivia Colman, beautifully sincere) while struggling to let go of her dead husband; he encapsulated the power she no longer has. A hero conquers a sexist institution, reducing second-rate patronisers to sycophants. An unhinged dictator creates her own downfall.

Most are excellent. Few ever connect. It’s tragic; just when we’re captivated, just when they have us, a whirlwind of history, predictable news footage and hysterical music, blows us away. Had we just one of these as a feature, it would surely be a masterpiece. Instead we have a chain of deeply affecting trailers, to films we’ll never get to see.

7/10

Words by COLM FIELD


THE IRON LADY
DIRECTOR PHYLLIDA LLOYD
RELEASED JANUARY 6th
CERT 12A PATHÉ



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