DRAMA; 1hr 45min
STARRING: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent
Lady of the house: Streep
Margaret Hilda Thatcher (Streep), now 86, was the Conservative British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. No woman preceded her and no one has outlasted her. Director Phyllida Lloyd and screenwriter Abi Morgan have astutely avoid a factoid landslide in their characterisation, opting instead for the personal and the anecdotal with events perceived from Baroness Thatcher’s imagined viewpoint. Their story spans two days of her current life as a dementia-afflicted widow clinging to memories of her cherished late husband, Denis (Broadbent, affability itself). As she faces the disposal of Denis’s clothing, she recalls her vivid political decades: a poignant contrast to her reduced, tortoise-paced present.
Thatcher’s trajectory — from grocer’s daughter to MP to PM — is a fluent dissection of the mechanics of power. Hailed as a hero after the 1982 Falklands War, she ruled Parliament with an imperious fist, only to be ultimately banished from it. The Iron Lady is also Denis and Margaret’s tender, generous love story, and an inward exploration of loss. But its trump card is the uncanny triumph of Streep’s performance, an embodiment so alive and aware that every minute is a gift.