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Hometheatre | Glad Eye

movie-reviews Updated: Jul 13, 2012 23:43 IST

Hindustan Times
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The Iron Lady
Excel, Rs. 499
How do you realistically depict a living politician a whole generation has grown up to hate and yet gather compassion for the person? If you are director Phyllida Lloyd, you show her as a doddering old woman, suffering from memory lapses and muttering to her dead husband.

When looking back, you highlight the happy, young person in love as much as the ruthless, hard-hitting politician at work. And then you cast one of the most sympathetic character actresses of all times to play the role.

Margaret Thatcher, whom Cold War snipers from the other side of the Iron Curtain lovingly dubbed the Iron Lady, fought all the way up to being the first elected female leader of a Western nation. The grocer's stubborn daughter was unshakeable in her belief in the Conservative principles of unfettered capitalism and efficient administration.

When she became prime minister of Britain in 1979, the country was facing its biggest economic crisis since World War 2. Output was down, poverty was high and trade unions were restive. Thatcher reversed the slide with unprecedented actions that blunted the hopes of a generation.

What toll did it take on the private life of Margaret? Could her husband, Denis, put up with her relentless ambition? Did her children Mark and Carol stay by her side?

With near-perfect imitation of Thatcher's high-pitch voice, head-shaking diction and darting eyes, Meryl Streep has highlighted the contradictions in a marvellous manner.

And though we aren't told how Thatcher arrived at most of her decisions, through Streep we see the steely resolve that changed the face of British society. It's one of the best character portrayals ever.