What I Saw In ‘The Iron Lady’
January 8, 2012 18 Comments
I’m shamefully ignorant in regards to British politics. Wasn’t Margaret Thatcher some free-market fundamentalist, an adherent of Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek? Now that sounds like my kind of lady.
Yet a quick internet search reveals state spending increased annually under her reign. Mrs. Thatcher merely slowed the rate of growth of the state. Still, fair play to her for delivering some notable liberal reforms. If no mine or factory should ever closed on economic grounds, as the socialists say, then it follows that they must have been screaming in favor of those bank bailouts. They weren’t? Oh, politics is a confusing game.
Was Thatcher a war criminal? She got compared to some nasty characters after the sinking of the ARA General Belgrano. I fail to see the issue here: the Belgrano was an Argentine warship, sunk in a war with Argentina. The fact it was outside some ‘exclusion zone’ has no bearing whatsoever. Historically exclusion zones exist for the benefit of neutral vessels. Both sides were perfectly aware the Belgrano was fair game. End of that non-controversy.
I don’t like politicians all that much, no more than I like their animal kingdom equivalent, the leech. Politicians are just leeches that ask to be loved. Few exceptions to my leech theory exist in the 20th century. Bibi Netanyahu I certainly have a soft-spot for, as well as Augusto Pinochet (hah! I said it you Castro-loving cunts!). Then there is Thatcher, a charming lady who screwed us less than the rest.
Confident I would not be viewing a glorification of a war criminal or a nasty leech, off I went to see a film about Thatcher.
The Iron Lady wouldn’t sway my opinions in any direction regarding, well, the Iron Lady. Amazingly, its creators managed to make a biopic of the Baroness that glosses over political matters, reducing the big dramas to speedy montages. It seems insane, but partly through the film I realized it must have been written by a woman or women. Women are relationship beings, not terribly interested in politics. A woman’s biopic of a towering political figure such as The Iron Lady focuses on a happy marriage and a tearful widowhood, and other chick-flick fare. Thatcher’s arrival in Parliament in this film felt like watching that girl from Legally Blonde entering Harvard. My guess not long into the film proved to be correct, of course. The Iron Lady was written by a certain Abi Morgan and directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Neither name rang a bell, but then again I am not interested in art by women, for women (whether they intend it to be or not).
Meryl Streep pulls off a fantastic Thatcher, capturing her voice and mannerisms without descending into a caricature. Well, you would expect no less from America’s most accomplished actress. Some have complained about Thatcher’s dementia being exaggerated in the film, particularly Tories that know her. The dementia scenes are touching and will no doubt draw sympathy from anyone with a heart not made of socialism. I don’t know about her mental condition, but I recall seeing Thatcher knocking back gin in the Goring Hotel several years back. I felt an air of loneliness about her, and my eyes started welling up. Now that’s never happened to me before.