I have to admit that I am not much of a cinema goer. Usually it is a social outing of some sort that will get me out there. And in the case of The Iron Lady it was a Friday night family outing while I was doing some residential tutoring. However, I have to say I was quite impressed by the film, and hence this blog post!
The film is done as a flashback from the aged Mrs. Thatcher’s point of view and memories that are triggered off. The central theme behind her recollecting and looking back is the loss of her husband and how she is coping with it. And I can certainly sympathise with this since after losing my dad I’ve seen the effect it as had on my family. So, from a personal point of view we get to see how her relationship with her husband was and how she misses him now. We also get to see how her daughter Carol Thatcher is the one who is still taking care of her aged mother, while the son is now living away in South Africa and distant.
I guess what made this film quite good for me was the history lesson that it had in it. I wasn’t living in the UK when she was in power so it gave me some idea of the events of the 80s and early 90s in British politics from a film point of view rather than reading cold facts.
She goes into flashback to her earliest memories in politics, that of listening to her father’s speeches as MP to Grantham. That bit I didn’t actually know about and it should then hardly be a surprise that she went into politics. However, when she did go into politics she was one of the very few women in politics and it was quite a job breaking into office in a largely male dominated arena. You have to respect her what she achieved in that era.
And her rise to the leader of the Conservative party is also quite a story against some big odds. But she overcame all of this to eventually become the first female prime minister of the UK. Then there is the politics itself which were covered in her random memory flashes. Her coming close to a terrorist attack, the reforms and cuts she had to make and her policies in privatisation. She was a determined and strong leader and push through quite a few things.
But it was exactly that forcefulness that was to be her downfall, she mentioned the cuts as “delivering medicine to children, they might not like it now but it is what is good for them..” or something along those lines. The other members of the Tory party of the time were plotting behind the scenes, understandably so as she always got her way and was in effect running a dictatorship in her own party towards the end. The characters played by John Major and Michael Heseltine are just about recognisable and amusing even.
Her role in the Falklands War is particularly well shown. Despite being under a heavy backdrop of heavy cuts and American advice on not to attack, she went ahead anyway and she took a very good gamble in doing so. By winning the Falklands she became a sensation and hero and now I finally understand this whole Falklands War thing a lot better.
So, I was glad to learn a bit of history in the cinema in a nice film and drama kind of way and Meryl Streep does an amazing job in playing out Thatcher. Having said that I can’t see anyone outside Britain being too interested in Thatcher and in that sense this is a UK film really rather than an international one.
And whether you like her or not she was quite a character and it says something that a film has been made for a Prime Minister who is still alive. I can’t think of any other ex PM who would be interesting enough to have a film made for them, can you imagine a film being made for Tony Blair? Yeah I thought not!