Say this for Meryl Streep: she doesn’t scare off easy from acting challenges. At 62, she is still the most Oscar-nominated actress with 17 nominations and 2 wins (try and beat that). Truth be told, “The Iron Lady” is strictly a one woman show. Meryl Streep’s show that is. She’s a marvel. It’s a joy and a privilege to watch her inhabit the character of Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister. But as far as biopics go, I’m afraid this one feels a bit dry. When it opens, it’s 2005, around the time of the London terrorist attacks. Thatcher, having served from 1979 to 1990 as British prime minister before her forced resignation, is depicted as a semisenile old woman who imagines her late husband Denis (Jim Broadbent) is still by her side. She also, at various times, imagines she is still equipped with the power of a prime minister. Even though the make up is not that impressive, Streep manages to work her way through the latex, and show us a woman that is still haunted by her past.This is where flashbacks come in, where we see young Margaret as a grocer’s daughter who attends Oxford, enters Parliament in 1959, and successfully becomes prime minister years later. I admire and respect “The Iron Lady”, even though I can’t say I loved it. It feels awfully uneven at times, but what keeps it afloat is of course the work of its leading lady. Director Phyllida Lloyd (“Mamma Mia!”) supports her well, but there’s a missing ingredient hidden somewhere. Let me put it this way: There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting a movie to be great and having to admit that it falls short. I don’t doubt the director’s good intentions, and as a history lesson , “The Iron Lady” shouldn’t be dismissed, but there is no reason on earth the results shouldn’t have been stronger.
Categories: The Twenty-First Century