Sunday, January 22, 2012

"The Iron Lady" with Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbrent

Sue and I went to see "The Iron Lady" yesterday. We're both fans of Ms. Streep's vast array of characters, and so off we went to see this much acclaimed, and also controversial, film. I'm glad that we did.

First off all, I have to dispel any pre-conceived notions that this is a film with a political agenda. Rather, it is the portrait of a once great woman, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in her later years, living in two worlds; the one of the here and now; along with the frequent recollections of whom and what she had been. In many ways this film was similar to what Ronald Reagan's final years must have been like, prior to the onset of his Alzheimer's disease.

As well as being a fairly accurate portrayal of Ms. Thatcher’s life as Prime Minister, the film also traces her beginnings as the daughter of a local councilman in World War Two England. Her father was also the village grocer, giving her the humble, yet determined roots, which would serve her so well as the first freely elected woman leader in the Western World. Indeed, it is much easier to understand her close working relationship with Ronald Reagan in this context.

As Mrs. Thatcher gets older and her husband has passed away, those about her seem to think that she has lost her hold on reality. She is haunted by the presence of her deceased husband Denis, played with wonderful charm by Jim Broadbent, and seems reluctant to let him go. His presence, and later spirit, have always guided her and helped to keep her grounded in her principles. In short, the film is also about a marriage, as much as it is about history, or her rise from a grocer's daughter to one of the most powerful women in the world.

As with Ronald Reagan, whether you liked her, or not, you cannot help but hold in admiration the pure grit which it took, not only to arrive at the top, but to get there with her principles intact.

With remarkable performances by all, especially Mr. Broadbent, along with seamlessly directed flashbacks by Phyllida Lloyd, this a film is well worth the time to view. I need not mention the already much acclaimed make up by J. Roy Helland; is all it claims to be. And, with a screenplay by Abi Morgan, this is a very well made film.

A notable quote from the film by Ms. 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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