Meryl Streep is absolutely fantastic in a movie that you ought to avoid seeing. I don’t know whose bright idea it was to make Margaret Thatcher into a pathetic object of pity, ridicule, and thinly veiled anger and resentment, but at the end of the movie, I felt more sorry for Thatcher’s detractors than I did for her target; after all Thatcher doesn’t need the pity of a moviegoing audience–her place in history is secure, while her critics, and those would would seek to lessen her as a person and as a historical figure are destined to be forgotten.
No one denies that Thatcher’s time as prime minister was controversial, but it would have done far better to focus directly on the controversies she aroused, than to portray Thatcher as reliving periods of crisis and angst through hallucinations. The mawkish and mordant air with which her post-Downing Street life was portrayed was aggravating to behold. It was strictly bathos for the sake of bathos, without any kind of larger point being made to edify the audience.
This movie coulda been a contender. Instead, it turned out purely second rate. Again, it is worth noting just how splendid Streep’s portrayal of Thatcher was; she had the prime minister’s voice down, and captured her impressive manner. But no portrayal, no matter how good, makes this movie worth paying to watch in a theater. Speaking personally, my time would have been better spent napping.