The Iron Lady doesn't pretend to be a biopic, but movies - regardless of their artistic intent - have a huge influence on how people view real-life characters (see, among others, Milos Forman's revisionist The People Vs. Larry Flynt). So watch the movie as drama, but take into account Margaret Thatcher's actual legacy. From 1979 to 1990, her government, bent on deregulation and privatization, paved the way for the neo-cons' shaking things up in economies around the world and right here in our own city. Without Thatcher there'd be no:
FURIOUS MUSIC COMMUNITY IN THE 80S UK
British musicians responded to Thatcher's determination to get government out of the way of corporations with uncommon rage. Elvis Costello wanted to Tramp The Dirt Down on her grave, and Billy Bragg blasted Thatcherites. Don't forget Morrissey's Margaret On The Guillotine, and the Clash was, well, the Clash.
U.S. WAR WITH IRAQ
Thatcher's declaration of war on Argentina over control of the Falkland Islands created the template for a cynical military conflict pursued mainly - even as it lined the pockets of some private business interests - in the name of "recovering national self-esteem" and to improve the leader's re-election prospects.
UK's 1 PER CENT
Thatcher led a government that went on a privatization spree of nationalized utilities and the industries that depended on them - coal, gas, water, railways, to name a few - fuelling a capitalist orgy of greed and widening the gap between rich and poor.
FINANCIAL MELTDOWN OF 2009
Alongside her American crony Ronald Reagan, Thatcher championed neo-liberalism's mythology of the job-creating, wealth-creating unfettered free market. Her financial deregulation, instituted in 1986, abolished the barriers separating the activities of banks, traders and brokers, setting the stage for the gigantic tech and housing bubbles, massive fraud and the ongoing global recession.
LONDON RIOTS OF 2011
Those enraged demonstrators who took to the streets last summer are the children of the new underclass created when she toppled the welfare state. At the same time, Thatcher's government passed draconian employment legislation undermining the power of the union movement to respond to worsening conditions and rectify equity imbalances.
Interview: Meryl Streep
Movie Review: The Iron Lady
Movie Feature: Meryl Streep's best moments