David and Val popped round. Together with Lee, and equipped with Val’s Shepherd’s Pie on our laps, followed by Ann’s rice-pudding, we settled down to watch The Iron Lady starring Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent. A host of other well-known faces appeared in the film too including John Sessions, Richard E Grant and Anthony Head and they all gave really good performances of various political figures of the time.
After its cinema release, the film, whilst being applauded for Streep’s uncanny resemblance in voice and looks, got mixed reviews. Many felt it dwelled too much on her frailty in later years whilst playing down her political life. I must admit, having now watched it, it didn’t feel that way to me – I thought is was a well-balanced and thoroughly engaging film. The Brighton Bomb, Poll Tax Riots and Airey Neave’s murder were just some of the many iconic events covered.
Even if you are not a fan of Thatcher’s political philosophy, the film did a great job or reminding us how difficult it was for a woman, at the time, to break into the male-dominated world of politics (let alone become leader of the Party, and then Prime Minister!) – and then secure political victory on the back of the Falkland’s War – for anyone to achieve so much, at a personal level, just shows that she was made of something very special. OK, if you were a Miner or a Trade Union Rep, you’ll describe her differently, but you’ve got to admire the her sheer determination in overcoming so may hurdles. The agony she faced in deciding whether to go to war with Argentina over the Falkland’s was touchingly portrayed, and on hearing of the sinking of HMS Sheffield, showed the rarely-seen human-side of this titular political figure.
On a completely different level, it was a very sad film in that it focussed on the impact of coping with grief (losing her husband, Dennis) and her gradual deterioration into senility. How the mighty have fallen - and the opening scenes of her struggling to cope in the newsagent buying milk, could have been any of us in later years and brought a tear to the eye.
Meryl Streep’s performance was just unbelievable. Quite where the actress ended and Thatcher began, was impossible to tell. She looked like her (hats off to the prosthetic team – especially during Thatcher’s later years), sounded like her and walked like her – in fact she WAS her! It was the most convincing performance I’ve ever seen of anyone doing anyone, and it was easy to forget this was a film not a documentary.
This, for me, has been the best film of the year so far! Fantastic!