Heather's DVD Review: The Iron Lady
Is it possible to be able to strive for power and not be destroyed by it? That's the premise behind the DVD release of The Iron Lady, which followed one such figure on their quest for success that ended up hurting them as well. The results were muddled at best, which is in large to the disorganized story.
The Iron Lady followed Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) and her complicated rise to power along with the backlash that came from getting to the top. The story started as an elderly Margaret reflected back on her past as she struggled to handle dealing with her life being a strictly structured version of what it once was. She had remembered how she was once a young woman named Margaret Roberts (Alexandra Roach) who had ideals taught to her by her father (Iain Glen). He taught her to dream big and never give into to the pressures of a highly political society. This ideal served her as she rose through the ranks and as she made her way into Parliament. Despite her best efforts, Margaret couldn't get her male counterparts to take her seriously, until she married Denis Thatcher (Jim Broadbent). Denis became her better half and allowed her to have an outlet to vent her frustrations, even after his untimely passing many years later. The ultimate test for Margaret was whether to stick with her personal and political beliefs, or to submit to the common public outcries that she dealt with. Would her desire to stay the course help her or haunt when she reached the age of beyond reason?
In terms of acting, The Iron Lady was top notch due to a beyond stellar performance given by its Academy Award Winning star Meryl Streep who imbued the Former Prime Minister with a mixture of spunk and vulnerability at the same time. She definitely deserved her latest Oscar win, especially after the numerous nominations she had amassed over the years. The idea of an American Actress portraying an infamous and iconic British political figure seemed like a risky proposition, but only Streep could pull it off. Her detailed appearance was uncanny enough to make viewers think that they were watching Margaret Thatcher live and on the big screen. That can also be credited to Meryl Streep's longtime Makeup Artist J. Roy Helland who knew what to do to make Streep look the part. Streep had a decent rapport with Broadbent when their characters had simple interactions that didn't go into the questionable nature of those interactions. Roach also deserved an honorable mention for portraying a younger version of Margaret by giving her a similiar vigor that Streep gave hers. Let's hope that Hollywood uses her talents in more feature films, or in the very least on Downtown Abbey.
Sadly, this Lady's story quality wasn't as good as the film's acting performances. The movie worked when it told Thatcher's story in a straightforward manner, but it floundered when it tried to bounce back and forth between the past and the present. It also didn't help that seeing Thatcher's present was a frighteningly stark contrast from the flashbacks during her days as Prime Minister. The movie should've focused more on Thatcher's glory days instead of a present that made her reflect on the past more. If the movie did this, the bizarre interactions between Streep and Broadbent, after Denis was long deceased, which were mostly out of place with the rest of the story. Due to this storytelling issue, Broadbent's character wasn't put to the proper use that he should've been as the husband of one of the most powerful women in England. Now, that would be an untold story in itself. Someday.
Verdict: Streep's high caliber performance is a cut above the rest, but the movie itself floundered on finding the right way to tell its story.
DVD Score: 2 out of 5 stars (For the Movie)
3 out of 5 stars (For Meryl Streep's performance)
Movie Rating: PG-13
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)