Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Iron Lady

The Flick: The Iron Lady

The Peeps: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, etc.

The Dealio: This is your life, Baroness Margaret Thatcher. Sort of. Told in a random scattering of back-and-forthing, the retired and largely reclusive Thatcher meanders between the mists of Swiss-cheesy memories (and, it is strongly suggested, in the grip of some unnamed neurological disorder) and the threatening present, where things just do not make sense in any way she can understand. She spends long periods of time in the company of- and being alternately scolded and cheered on by- the ghost of her long-gone spouse, Denis. When, she seems to wordlessly wonder, did everything and everyone pass her by?

The Grading Session: Out of a possible 5 pengies: 4.31 pengies for the story, 5.0 pengies for the acting. There were a couple of deficits in the film: 1st, one minute Thatcher is a young, inexperienced female from the country who dares to challenge the male establishment. Then, seemingly overnight, she marries Denis and gets elected. I am pretty sure a few things happened in between (like her becoming a barrister and a chemist, having twins, struggling through some political contests before getting a few smaller wins). Also- and this is just for me, as an under-informed Yank: how about a catch up at the end to tell us what happened since the movie ended? I do so love this detail whenever a flick is based upon a real-life personage. I also felt the film dragged in a few places (loads of scenes of her puttering around, messing with Denis' belongings, watching TV or old films and listening to The King and I. Could we not have lost some of those in favor of the holes I groused about above?), Editing is a wondrous, powerful thing. Lastly, I never cease to be amazed by Streep's embodiment of her roles. Whether it is Maggie Thatcher or an Abba-happy bohemian, she scarfs down the essence of her peeps and makes them her own. Brava. Again.

Lessons Learned: On your way up, remember your family. Later on, you will surely be glad you did. They are the ones who are for you, even first thing in the morning, when you are at far from your best and others are against you. All else is fleeting. Lastly this: apparently, departed spouses drink cocktails- and mix them, too- dance beautifully and can be sent packing by loud music and TV shows. Who knew?

Notable Quotables: Margaret Thatcher: Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become... habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become.

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