Best Movies of All Time + Oscar win



"It used to be about trying to do something. Now it's about trying to be someone."
-- Margaret Thatcher
The Iron Lady is a 2011 drama directed by Phyllida Lloyd that centers around the story of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. As an elderly woman, Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) is slowly losing her battle with dementia, and she starts to reminisce about the major events in her life. As a young woman (played by Alexandra Roach), Margaret was led by a series of ideals that propelled her to her start in politics. As time went by, she and her husband Denis (Jim Broadbent) determined she should make a run for the office of Prime Minister, a bid that she ultimately won. The story then tells of the major events that took place while she was in office, ultimately leading to the story's present day.

After scoring two Academy Award nominations, I knew I had to give The Iron Lady a viewing. It had been on my radar for quite some time, since it has had quite a bit of buzz since its initial announcement. A lot of the buzz has been centered around Meryl Streep, and it's usually well-deserved when she appears in a film. Seeing as one of this film's Oscar nominations is for Streep's performance, then there must be some truth to the buzz, right?

I'll start with the acting, considering I've started to mention it already. Streep is great as our leading lady, but there never should've been any doubt with that. She won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama, so it's probably safe to say she's one of the front-runners at this year's Academy Awards. Do I think she deserves to win? Perhaps not, but that doesn't necessarily mean that she's terrible. It's a fine role, and she plays it to a tee. The rest of the cast fills out nicely, with some good performances from the likes of Broadbent and Roach, who especially surprised me as the younger version of Streep's character. The rest of the cast is used rather fleetingly, but they're solid in their background roles. Overall, it's a good ensemble cast.

Sadly, I had quite a bit of issue with the film's screenplay, which ultimately mires the film in a bit of a humdrum tone. There's something a little off with the film's storytelling, and it was difficult to stay engaged with the movie as a whole. While the dialogue and the writing seems fine, there really isn't that great of a hook to the film, so from the outset, I just felt like I was on the outside-looking-in rather than having a feeling of being encompassed by the movie. The best films know how to draw their audience into the story and keep them there for the film's entirety, but The Iron Lady never actually sucks the viewer into its story, ultimately making it a bit of a bore to watch. If a film cannot keep its audience engaged, it's going to lose it and lose it quickly. It's just sad to see it happen here, especially when it's already happened with another recent film - the Leonardo DiCaprio-starring J. Edgar.

At the end of the day, The Iron Lady spoils a fine Streep performance by miring itself in a very lackadaisical attitude and tone. Despite tackling a new political figure, the film simply felt unoriginal. I feel as though it mixed a good blend of the aforementioned J. Edgar with films like The King's Speech and The Ides of March. Unfortunately, that particular blend does not play out well on the screen, and despite the cast's best efforts, there just isn't a strong enough screenplay to bring this movie out of the doldrums.

Movie Review Summary
Grade: C+
0.5 Thumbs Down

2011, Alexandra Roach, drama, Iron Lady, Jim Broadbent, Meryl Streep, movie review, and more:

Relevant to: THE IRON LADY + Oscar win