Will Margaret Thatcher Take one in the Pearls?

Last night I saw the trailer for “The Iron Lady” with Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher.  All I could think was “hit piece.”  Streep is, as always, going to be spot-on as Thatcher, but there’s no way she would appreciate Thatcher’s policies, if she even looks that far.  Then there’s the worrisome stewardship.  Not necessarily politically, but Phillyda Lloyd is director of the internationally popular but horrendously awful “Mama Mia.”  (I know there’s some fans out there, so I’ll take my hits.)

There’s already buzz in the Daily Mail that friends of Thatcher aren’t happy with the film.

I put it to our local Thatcher expert, Claire Berlinski, and our other British members,  what are the odds this is a laudatory, even fair portrayal?

  1. Layla

    Meryl Streep is a phenomenal actress–probably one of the best actresses ever–but since Margaret Thatcher is evil incarnate for leftists…I think “hit piece” is inevitable. The fact that Streep will no doubt nail the Thatcherisms just makes it all that more painful.

  2. Colin B Lane

    Two of Hollywood’s favorite themes: (1) “smart woman smashes the barriers imposed by stupid men running evil, patriarchal society” and (2) “conservatives are mean and evil and don’t care if poor people go to bed hungry at night.”

    Which of these is the preponderate theme will determine whether it’s an overall fair portrayal of the British Gipper (I like that term better than “Iron Lady”). However, even if Hollywood goes with the gender warfare theme, I look for the movie to be quite annoying.

  3. tabula rasa
    Denise Moss:   Then there’s the worrisome stewardship.  Not necessarily politically, but Phillyda Lloyd is director of the internationally popular but horrendously awful “Mama Mia.”  (I know there’s some fans out there, so I’ll take my hits.)

    I’ll let experts like Claire weigh in on the value of the film (though I expect a hit piece). 

    But I can weigh in on “Mama Mia,” having seen a stage version many years ago. Denise:  It is not “horrendously awful.”  It’s far worse.  I consider the English language to be flexible enough to describe nearly anything, but the language fails me in finding the words to portray the depth and breadth of its awfulness.  And I say this as a person who actually liked a few of Abba’s hits before I saw the show.

  4. thelonious

     I like the film version of “Mama Mia” because Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan are mediocre singers.  Mediocre being generous.  I think Meryl Streep did that movie because she knew she could do any awful movie and it wouldn’t kill her career.  It just seemed everybody had fun making it and didn’t care if it sounded worse than a  high school production of it.  If the lead characters were capable singers it would have been a terrible movie.  The amateurish nature of the movie made it delightful.  Every fiber of my being should loathe Abba but to my great shame I’m attracted to the cheesy schlecky nature of their music.

  5. Tom Jones

    This is one of those moments when I wish Rob Long could clone himself. We just don’t have the basis of talent in “the business” to guarantee any kind of fair treatment to a heroine of Margaret Thatcher’s stature.

    Meryl Streep also participated in that tiresome Tony Kushner’s Angels in America travesty some time ago. Didn’t she also serve as the spokesperson when that phony alar fiasco was promulgated?.

    As to Mama Mia, it was the premise (trampy Mom not knowing daddy’s identity) that turned me off the most.I still love two or three Abba songs.

    But alas, no, I’d say the Baroness is in for a bumpy ride on this one.

  6. Tommy De Seno

     Editors I rise to nominate Denise’s as Ricochet headline of the year.  Can I get a second on the motion?

  7. Severely Ltd.

    I’ll be the first to second that, Tommy. No wonder Rob’s got her working for him.

  8. James Of England

    Wall Street was meant to be a film attacking capitalism, but the people inspired by it tended to be capitalists. If Meryl Streep does a hit on Thatcher that includes chunks of her speeches, well performed, Thatcher will come out of it looking very good indeed, and her timeless principles will be reinvigorated. I only hope and pray that they include a minute’s chunk of the “no such thing as society” speech. Worth the price of an IMAX alone.

  9. Joseph Eagar

    I agree about Mama Mia.

  10. David Williamson

    I think Claire addressed this a while back – she was not amused, as I recall.

    The British have a thing about Americans playing English roles – they (we) hate it. 

    Especially if the American is a “liberal” – there is zero chance of it being a fair or realistic portrayal.

    (I’ve never been impressed by Ms Streep, btw)

  11. Denise Moss
    Tommy De Seno:  Editors I rise to nominate Denise’s as Ricochet headline of the year.  Can I get a second on the motion? · Nov 12 at 3:09pm

    Thank you, Tommy.  

  12. Valiuth

    I think a lot of how thatcher will come off depends on the script, more than the actress playing her. If the script is fair then I think the movie will be fair. Of course I’m not going to put money on any of this being friendly towards Mrs. Thatcher, but who knows. Some time Hollywood surprises me…

  13. Claire Berlinski

    People keep asking me what I think of the movie, but I haven’t seen it yet. I didn’t care for the trailer. 

  14. Raw Prawn

    I think I’ll give this movie a miss.  I’m not a Streep fan but mainly I remember the left wing smear campaign against Thatcher.  It was deranged and unrelenting and continued the entire 11 years she was in office.  I suppose I feel a bit stupid for having believed some of it at the time.  Thatcher deserves a hagiography by way of rehabilitation and compensation.  Hollywood just doesn’t do that kind of thing anymore.

    I liked the two BBC telemovies The Road to Finchley (2008) and Margaret (2009).  The first covering Thatcher’s early adult life and her fight to win Conservative preselection for a winnable parliamentary seat and the second covering the party room coup that deposed her and events leading up to it.  I imagine what made these projects acceptable to the arbiters of taste and correctness was that the context allowed Margaret Thatcher to be depicted as a feminist heroine, albeit an odd one, while conservatives as a whole could be depicted as dinosaurs.  (If you believe James Dellingpole the Conservatives deserve a kicking.)

  15. lakelylane

     Sorry Denise , you really don’t have to be an expert to know the TRUTH..

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