Review of The Iron Lady
The brilliance of the film The Iron Lady and its masterful characters
I watched the Iron Lady this morning and could not help but marvel at Meryl Streep’s performance and portrayal of Margaret Thatcher. As a scriptwriter and director I curled with a cappuccino and started to watch. I had expected a fairly stiff and stick-to-the-rules kind of script but was wonderfully captivated. The story line was carefully nourished and developed with extreme detail to the flashbacks – flashbacks can be a problem – and the film almost made me want to be British. Almost, I say because of the legacy Thatcher left behind.
The Streep magic
First, there is no one like Meryl for those delicate and nuanced performances. Every word was studied and thought out and her moments of confusion had extreme delicacy. I savored every nuance and sound that came out of her and wonder why it took so long for her to get another Oscar. As in The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Bridges of Madison County, Meryl is a master at her craft and has proven herself to be a first class actor. She has the knack to slip easily into languages and into a role and was already noticeable and noteworthy in Kramer versus Kramer filmed decades ago. I particularly delighted in the scene where Thatcher tells her daughter not to fuss so much …fuss, fuss, fuss… and her voice dips and has that mystical quality. I watched that particular performance three times and there were plenty of them.
Performances that resonate long after the curtain has closed
Meryl Streep is a consummate performer and a star. She has been a bitch, a witch, a devil, and a French Lieutenant’s woman. She surely has the gift and in my humble opinion is one of the top five actors in the world and a real star. There are many actors; there are few stars. Marilyn Monroe was a star. Ava Gardner was a star. The top actors in my estimation include Helen Mirren and Bette Davis. Mirren is the queen when she puts on the crown and the face. Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane makes your skin crawl. Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest is frightening and the performance still resonates with us. These are the master manipulators of our emotions and we pay willingly to experience their art. I can still see Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons as they meet for the first time in the barn. Yoh! I felt instantly in love.