Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Iron Lady

A confused and alone Margaret Thatcher walks to her corner store, unnoticed, buys a pint of milk and returns home. As she goes about the course of her day, with the early stages of Alzheimer's setting in and receiving frequent visits from the ghost of her dead husband, Britain's first female Prime Minister recounts her improbable political career defined by an indomitable will which earned her the title moniker. "The Iron Lady" is a poor treatment of an invigorating and controversial figure. Meryl Streep looks and plays the part impeccably but she is letdown by a lame and poorly focused screenplay by Abi Morgan (who also penned the script for the excellent "Shame") and distracting and lacking direction by Phyllinda Lloyd ("Mamma Mia!"), an inexperienced director who was perhaps not the right person to helm this project. Some of the sequences due come off well, particularly the parliamentary scenes with the bullying male members and the Falkland War sequence. Most however seem rushed and undeveloped ("Oh my campaign manager was just blown to bits" cut immediately to scene where I become P.M.). Sadly, it also must be said that Jim Broadbent, an actor I cherish, is not only misused as Thatcher's goofball husband, he is downright insufferable. With a magnetic topic, a finely tuned lead performance, and a fine supporting actor put to paltry use, this failure should be chalked up to that of the writer and director.