|Still from The Iron Lady|
As is the case with My Week with Marilyn, those expecting a full-on Biopic about the rise and fall of a Heroine might be underwhelmed slightly by The Iron Lady. What Director Phyllida Lloyd gives us instead is a glimpse of the costs incurred by a nation and its Heroine Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) - a battle-torn fighter with an all-consuming drive to be on-top and in-control. What we get here is a frail and senile Thatcher in her old age reflecting upon her storied rise to Power and more so, her undying love for Husband Denis (Jim Broadbent).
Much of The Iron Lady is told as an afterthought through flashbacks triggered by mementos found in Thatcher's home. Still strong-willed in the face of Dementia, she refuses to accept that she is going mad as Denis keeps resurfacing as a vision to her, forcing her to face the person she once was and the person she has become.
It should come as no surprise that Streep is astoundingly good as Thatcher and as commonly is the case, an Actress is required to go through a transformation in the span of a Film. In The Iron Lady however, we see Streep operating like a Formula 1 Champion, shifting through several gears. Played superbly by Alexandra Roach for the earlier part of Thatcher's life, we see Streep take Thatcher from being overly eager and shrill in Parliament to becoming a self-assured Prime Minister, unwavering in her unpopular decisions. She arguably is at her best while leading her nation through the Falklands War with resolute poise and authority. If this were not enough, Streep also handles Thatcher's decline with grace, mastering ever detail down to the blank ponderous gazes that grow increasingly long in her senility.
The Iron Lady might not be the Political Drama that some are hoping for, but regardless it has plenty of heart and more than ably makes us empathize with someone who long has been scrutinized publicly and labelled as heartless. It is impossible not to root for Thatcher as she is faced time and time again with impossible obstacles. That being said, the illusive third Oscar will soon be a reality for Streep. Alliance Films releases nationwide on January 13, 2012.