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:: The Iron Lady

It is always difficult to review a film that has already been slated as an Oscar winner a long time before the nominations are already announced, but here goes. From my point of view it is easy to see how The Iron Lady is generating Oscar buzz because this film is a bio-pic with a difference. Normally, a film like this shows a character in the best light, at the top of their fame, but The Iron Lady not only shows Margaret Thatcher at the top of her political game but also as an aged woman suffering from delusions.

The elderly Thatcher is expertly played by Meryl Streep as she goes through her daily routines with her daughter, Carol (Olivia Colman) and is haunted by visions of her deceased husband, Denis (Jim Broadbent). She reminisces of times when she (Alexandra Roach) was younger and started on her political journey with Denis (Harry Lloyd) by her side. Her thoughts take her right through her career right through to her darkest days when an incident with Geoffrey Howe (Anthony Head) that ultimately led to her demise as Prime Minister.

Director, Phyllida Lloyd and screenwriter, Abi Morgan need to be congratulated for taking such a ‘different’ and brave look at one of the world’s most loved/hated historical figures. While seeing Thatcher in her glory days is a good watch it is seeing her as an ‘older’ woman that really brings this film to life. The scenes of her losing her mind makes the audience feel a real apathy for her and while probably not intended to be so The Iron Lady becomes a film that gives a great insight into the dreadful disease that is dementia.

While I can’t see The Iron Lady winning Best Picture at the Oscars there will be a crime occurring if Meryl Streep doesn’t at least get a nomination for her performance. Streep is unrecognisable for most of the film as it seems she really does become Margaret Thatcher… she even gets the voice to a tee. What is also obvious is that she and Jim Broadbent really did enjoy their time on screen together. Broadbent also puts in a good performance going from the cheeky apparition one moment to the frustrated and pained husband the next.

The Iron Lady is a brave and unique look at a historical figure that will be foreign to the younger generation. With a ground-breaking script from Abi Morgan and a brilliant performance from Meryl Streep this is one of the must sees of 2011.