THE IRON LADY (Alliance, 2011) D: Phyllida Lloyd, w/ Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent. Rating: NNN; Blu-ray package: NN
Do you really want to spend 105 minutes with a movie that wants you to like Margaret Thatcher?
Alongside Ronald Reagan, she's the world's great neo-conservative icon of privatization, union-busting and screwing the citizenry. The movie paints her as a tragic hero whose greatest virtue, her principled determination to do the right thing, morphs into the hubris of believing that she alone is right.
Yes, Meryl Streep is wonderful as Thatcher. She delivers a fully rounded portrait of the woman in public and private life, in her prime and old age. She deserves her Oscar and every other award she's received. Jim Broadbent, who plays her husband, Denis, is just as brilliant.
But the movie often feels like neocon propaganda - hers is the only point of view we get. In 2009, Thatcher dodders around her house, hallucinating the long-dead Denis and trying not to go mad. Her early years, rise to power, prime ministership and private life are all presented as memories.
The making-of doc is one of those that tell you what you're supposed to feel.
EXTRAS Making-of, Streep, Broadbent, young actors, costumes, history in cinema docs. English, French audio and subtitles.