Let me begin this post by noting that I absolutely love my boyfriend because when we saw the previews for both this movie and Tinker, Soldier, Tailor, Spy before we watched The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo with absolutely no prompting he noted he wanted to see both.
That said, we’ve been waiting for this movie to come out because the Drafthouse catalog had the wrong release date initially so we went to buy tix only to find it wasn’t actually out yet 🙁 However, this movie was in many ways worth the wait.
Meryl Streep delivered, well, a Meryl Streep-level performance. Seriously, I swear she just picks 2 movies a year now, one of which will get her an Oscar nod and then has fun with every role. She nailed the accent and feel behind Thatcher. The Drafthouse showcased some of Thatcher’s speeches which later went on to be in the film and it was uncanny to see how she pulled off the feel and the mannerisms. I have a feeling she will rack up the awards again this year. I also like that she’s choosing to play some fun British leading ladies, following up on Julie and Julia with this. Then again, the only bigger British leading lady she can play to follow up Thatcher has a first name of Elizabeth and could be one of two people. 😉
Her performance aside, there were other marvelous performances, her husband Dennis was well played by two different actors which you’ve seen before. The younger played Max in Across the Universe and the elder you’ve seen in the last few installments in the Harry Potter franchise. Honestly, they are both pretty darn good, especially the playful goofiness you see in the elder. There were also some more minor roles which were well played, too in the parts of her ministers, etc. I was impressed at the slew of big names packed into this movie.
Now down to the nitty gritty. The movie was a little different than I had anticipated. It takes place as a series of flash backs. It’s a little jarring because the backdrop for them is that the current Thatcher has a bit of dementia and is reliving key career moments at the behest of a hallucination of her late husband. This is perhaps what makes Streep’s portrayal so amazing, because she is able to be a sassy and defiant old gal, a woman on the edge of madness, and the strong character that Thatcher was in her younger days. If you are not already familiar with the rise and fall of Thatcher, the story is a bit jumpy in order to fit into the run time and you will be able to follow but may be a bit confused on which characters are which and why they are important. Also, don’t expect the movie to be as uplifting as you were lead to believe in the commercials. In the end, you feel very sorrowful for the later Thatcher because of the state of affairs all of this has left her in. You also get an intense feeling of loneliness in the character because she has alienated her family. However, this movie is that intense kind of good that you come out of better for having seen it.
I think that there are lessons to be learned from the timing of the film, as much of the world is close to facing the types of political conditions which were in place in her rise. Perhaps there is a bit of foreshadowing and warning here, we won’t know until the election outcome of next year in the US.
Overall this movie gets an A for historical accurateness, costuming, superb performances, and vivid storytelling.