Sunday, 13 January 2013

Film Review: THE IRON LADY (2011)

The Iron Lady - poster Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Writer: Abi Morgan (screenplay)
Running time: 105 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Biography/Drama/History
UK Release date: 6th January 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 13th January 2013.


Love her or loathe her, Margaret Thatcher had a massive impact on politics both here in the UK and internationally. This film chronicles her rise to power in the late 1970’s and her eventual fall some twelve years later. For a change I will not write a plot summary, instead I will talk about the way the story is presented and how that has been interpreted by various reviewers around the world.

The Iron Lady - 3 We begin with Margaret Thatcher as an old woman; she is sorting out her late husband Dennis’s effects. This is several years after he had passed away and yet she still sees him walking around the flat and talks to him about events of the past. This device is used to take the audience back to scenes from her history. Firstly, Margaret as a young girl, the daughter of a grocer and then on through her life up to the present day. I actually quite liked the way this was done although it did mean that quite a lot had to be missed out. For instance, some of her most iconic speeches didn’t make the cut which I found a little annoying. All the salient points are there though; everything from the miner’s strike to the Falklands war and the sinking of the Belgrano and the Brighton bombing.

The Iron Lady - 1 Now, for some, Mrs Thatcher is portrayed far too sympathetically and the film puts her tenure as Prime Minister in a much better light than is might deserve. I didn’t feel this was the case; there was plenty of footage of rioters on the streets and striking miners fighting with the police. I lived through the Thatcher years and I can tell you it was just as violent, at times, as portrayed. I can’t say whether the film is accurate as far as it shows events behind the doors of No. 10 Downing Street, but it all seems plausible.

The Iron Lady - 7 What strikes me is the performance of Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher; she deservedly won an Oscar for this portrayal. I must also praise the work if the make-up artists who worked on her prosthetics, they captured the look perfectly. Honourable mentions go to Jim Broadbent as Dennis Thatcher and Olivia Colman as Carol Thatcher; both were excellent. This film was always going to be controversial but I think it was well done and actually quite brave, considering the subject of it is still alive.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.2/10.

IMDb Score: 6.4/10 (based on 38,320 votes when this review was written).

MetaScore: 54/100: (Based on 41 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

The Iron Lady - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 53/100 (based on 199 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 51/100 (based on 83,845 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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Alexander Haig: So you are proposing to go to war over these islands. They're thousands of miles away, a handful of citizens, politically and economically insignificant, if you'll excuse me.
Margaret Thatcher: Just like Hawaii... I imagine.

Airey Neave: If you want to change this party, lead it. If you want to change the country, lead it.

The Iron Lady - 8 Margaret Thatcher: Where did you go?
Denis Thatcher: South Africa.
Margaret Thatcher: Ah, yes.
Denis Thatcher: How many days passed before you realized I'd gone? Probably had to ask the cleaning woman where I was.

Margaret Thatcher: Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become. My father always said that. And I think I am fine.

The Iron Lady - 6 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site (US):

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