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Review

Film details life of successful prime minister

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March 2, 2012

“The Iron Lady” was one of the best movies I have ever seen. I can see why it was nominated for five awards. I think one of the biggest reasons I liked it so much was because it is based on a true story.

The movie is based upon the life and times of Margaret Thatcher, the first ever woman British Prime Minister. Meryl Streep definitely did a wonderful job of portraying Thatcher. She was able to embody all of the regality that Thatcher had.

The film begins with Thatcher in her old age buying a pint of milk, being unrecognized by the customers of the store. It is revealed that she is struggling with a mental illness, which causes her difficulty in distinguishing between the past and the present.

The major theme throughout the film is how her rise to power affected her family. Thatcher now has a strained relationship with her son, Mark, and her daughter, Carol.

There are several flashbacks in the film that show Thatcher as a young woman in a lower-middle class society, wishing to make a difference in the Conservative Party. Other flashbacks show her engagement to her husband, Denis, life with her young children, and gaining a seat in the House of Commons.

In 1974, she became the Education Secretary, followed by the Leader of the Opposition, and then in 1979, Thatcher became the Prime Minister. As Prime Minister, she went through many trials and tribulations.

These events are briefly detailed in the movie as more flashbacks. Some of these events include, the Brixton Riots, the Miner’s Strike, and the Falklands War. There were times where Thatcher is seen as being extremely popular, as well as extremely unpopular due to rising unemployment numbers in the 1980s.

One of the most traumatic events in the film show the bombing of the Grand Hotel in 1984. Both Thatcher and her husband, Denis, were in the hotel at the time. Though they made it out alive, others were not so lucky.

I was able to get sucked into this story instantly. During the bombing scene I jumped a good few inches off of my chair. I jumped a few more times too. They were very intense moments.

I believe the best part of this movie was how it used actual footage from the events that basically defined Thatcher’s reign as Prime Minister for 11 years.

The year in the film is now 1990. Thatcher is portrayed as a stubborn old women, speaking aggressively towards her Cabinet members, and belittling her deputy. Her Cabinet eventually forces her resignation, which causes her bitterness.

The film ends with Thatcher packing up her late husband’s belongings, finally freeing herself in a way. She is freeing herself from being attached to her past. She washes a teacup in the sink, and she walks away from the camera as the credits roll.

I did thoroughly enjoy the film, though I did not care for how it ended. I know that Thatcher is still alive but I feel that the last scene wasn’t as powerful as it could have been.

Overall, the film was incredible. Meryl Streep was fantastic, and I would not have picked anyone else for the role of Margaret Thatcher. If you are a fan of history, make sure you see this film.

Samantha Harkness is a journalism major at UW-River Falls. She loves reading, writing and watching movies.