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DVD Review: The Iron Lady

April 10, 2012

The Iron Lady – An Alliance Films’ Release

DVD Release Date: April 10th, 2012

Rated PG for violence and mature themes

Running time: 105 minutes

Phyllida Lloyd (dir.)

Abi Morgan (screenplay)

Thomas Newman (music)

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher

Jim Broadbent as Denis Thatcher

Olivia Coleman as Carol Thatcher

Roger Allam as Gordon Reece

Our reviews below:


The Iron Lady DVD Review By John C.

** (out of 4)

Near the beginning of The Iron Lady, the elderly Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) is seen talking to her husband Denis (nicely played by Jim Broadbent), before we realize that he has already passed away and she is succumbing to dementia.  Between scenes of her coming to terms with the death of her husband by talking to his ghost, director Phyllida Lloyd’s film charts the political rise of Thatcher and how she came to be the first female Prime Minister of Britain in the late-1970s.

Although Meryl Streep’s Oscar-winning performance in The Iron Lady is good, I remain in the camp that thinks Viola Davis should have won Best Actress for The Help.  The main reason is because Streep’s believable transformation into Margaret Thatcher resides in a movie that too often falls into biopic clichés, as it switches back and forth between being an old age melodrama about a woman looking back on her life and a rushed political story that uses montages to chart her rise to power.  The most powerful images in the film come from news footage and Meryl Streep is predictably good in the leading role, but as an actual movie, The Iron Lady could have been better and a lot more interesting.

The Blu-ray includes numerous “behind the scenes” featurettes, including one that touches on the believable Oscar-winning makeup.


The Iron Lady DVD Review By Erin V.  

**1/2 (out of 4)

Garnering an Academy Award for Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady has now been released on DVD.  A biopic of Margaret Thatcher – Britain’s Prime Minister from ‘79-’90 – the film tells the story of her being the first woman to ever lead the country, and a controversial figure at that.

The film is told through flash-backs to Thatcher’s younger days, interspliced with her life as an elderly woman with signs of dementia.  The film is interesting at times, especially the use of actual news footage to tell parts of the story of her time in politics, although it also doesn’t tell as much of the political story as some might hope.

While Streep’s performance is good (as expected), I can’t quite call it her best, nor the best of last year.  Also, while The Iron Lady is just one hour, forty-five minutes long, it feels closer to two and a half.  Overall, I’d say the film feels like a good TV movie – and not much more.  Still, if you are interested in the life of Margaret Thatcher, you might want to check this one out.


The Iron Lady DVD Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

The Iron Lady is a slow moving biopic about Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep), Britain’s first female Prime Minister.  The film alternates between Thatcher as an elderly woman with dementia who talks to her late husband’s ghost, Denis (Jim Broadbent), and flashbacks of her life from young adulthood to her controversial role as Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990.  The flashback scenes are interspersed with historical news footage.

While Meryl Streep is good as Margaret Thatcher, the film fails in that is manages to make an interesting story boring.  I would have liked to have seen more of the controversy behind Thatcher’s extreme conservative views and less of the mundane scenes with the elderly Thatcher and Denis’ ghost.  The historical events during Thatcher’s reign are not given enough explanation and the woman playing her in the 1950s looks nothing like Meryl Streep.  This is a decent enough film, but it was not good enough for a Best Actress Oscar.  However, if you are interested in political science, then The Iron Lady is worth checking out.


The Iron Lady DVD Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Famous for being Britain’s first and so far only female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) had a reputation for being tough as nails, earning the nickname The Iron Lady.  In this biopic, director Phyllida Lloyd focuses on Thatcher’s later years, particularly her descent into dementia and her grief over the loss of her husband, Denis (Jim Broadbent).

The Iron Lady earned Meryl Streep a Best Actress Oscar as she believably transforms from a world leader in her forties to a grieving, confused woman in her eighties.  Streep’s performance is powerful, particularly in Thatcher’s more confused moments when she is interacting with the spirit of her late husband.  These scenes are both touching and amusing.  Her earlier political years are told through archival news footage and a handful of scenes played by Streep.  The very early years are played by Welsh actress Alexandra Roach.

The Iron Lady could have been a more interesting film had more of the focus been on Margaret Thatcher’s strong political life.  In the hands of a lesser actress, this would have been a lesser film.  The Blu-ray is worth seeing for Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent’s fine performance.


The Iron Lady DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

The Iron Lady covers highlights of the life and career of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) in flashbacks from her memory. Comfortable though frail in retirement, she continues to feel the presence of her husband Denis (Jim Broadbent), dead since 2003. A grocer’s daughter (Alexandra Roach) educated at Oxford, she married and had twin kids as her political interests developed. Her steadfast promotion of conservative ideals earned the grudging respect of her party and the electorate as the first female PM (1979-1990). Bitter confrontations with unions, the IRA, and other groups, as well as the Falklands war, kept her in power while polarizing the country, and her influence went beyond the borders of the UK, to Reagan’s America and more recently Canada.

Of course, Streep’s portrayal of Thatcher in her prime and dotage (earning numerous awards for performance and makeup) is as good as one would expect, and Jim Broadbent is brilliant as well. The rest of the cast is serviceable, as is the script and production which cover the historical material reasonably well. However, particularly for those not that interested in the subject to begin with, it is not as inspiring as it might have been, seeming longer than its 105 minutes.


Consensus: Meryl Streep’s Oscar-winning performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady is good, but the 105 minute running time often feels longer than it is and some will find the politics of the story to be rushed.  **1/2 (Out of 4)

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