The Iron Lady reviews

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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:31 pm

I'd rate this as just below Doubt in terms of quality. There was something more fun about her performance in Doubt. This seems like she was struggling to make a detestable character likable, which does does somewhat well. The film is a mess and needs serious restructuring. Yet, I wonder how this impersonation of an important person is any different than many other such performances deried over the last few years. Were it not Streep giving this performance, do you think we'd even be having this discussion? After all, Toby Jones gave the superior Capote performance, but was roundly ignored in favor of do-no-wrong Phillip Seymour Hoffman. This isn't to diminish Streep's accomplishment here as she really is quite good, I just don't think it's something she couldn't have done in her sleep.
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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:15 pm

I completely agree with Tee's assessement of the film with the caveat that I wasn't expecting much from the director of Mamma Mia so I wasn't upset at the lack of structure or fluidity of the plot. Had the critics hailed this as the great movie it definitely isn't I would be dumping all over it, but as a showcase for Streep's acting it is a triumph.
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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:54 am

It's hard to figure why the writing/directing team made this movie, since they don't seem terribly interested in Margaret Thatcher's politics -- they gloss over them, and fail to make the results of them coherent (at one moment the economy stinks and Thatcher is reviled, then she's resoundingly re-elected; had I not lived through it, I wouldn't have had a clue why). The chronology doesn't even make sense: the IRA bombing took place in 1984, yet, in screen time, it appears to occur prior to the Falklands foray, which was in '82. It seems to me the filmmakers responded to Thatcher as breaker of barriers for women (a perfectly reasonable position), but then were embarrassed by her actual stances, so they took a once-over-lightly approach to anything political. And, of course, spent about 40% of the film dealing with Thatcher-in-dementia, which tells us really nothing about the woman -- those scenes could, with little rewriting, be the story of anyone's aging aunt going through the same deterioration.

However...it is those scenes that give the film what distinction it has, and brings us to the real probable reason the flm was made: to give Meryl Streep yet another chance to demonstrate her exceptional skills. I'd say it's been a long time since Streep has been in this mode: utterly submerging herself in not just Thatcher but Thatcher losing her marbles. Right from the start it feels like an uncanny acting exhibition: the make up (HUGELY superior to what we saw in J. Edgar) lets us forget Streep and see her as this other, newly-created human being (not unlike Edith Evans in The Whisperers). As a Thatcher "impersonation, it's seamless; as a portrait of dementia, it leaves Judi Dench/Iris in the dust. Taken together, it's absolutely extraordinary -- a double high wire act that never falters.

The question is: does that equate to great acting? I think people will divide along the old 70s/80s Streep camps. Alot of the folks who've warmed up to her more humorous, direct work over the past half-decade will reject this as cold/empty/disconnected from anyone but herself. But for those who revere work like Sophie's Choice above all, this will be seen as a return to top form -- a sense that Streep stands alone in being able to give uncanny demonstrations in the art of acting. My opinion? I see both sides. I'd rather her have given this performance in a far better film, and one in which she was part of an organic whole, rather than off by herself being amazing. But I DO think she's amazing, at a level she hasn't reached in some time, and that rates a salute.

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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby nightwingnova » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:38 pm

Streep's impersonation is splendidly good. Frankly though, I couldn't sit through the entire movie...just trashy in how it purports Thatcher sees her dead husband talk to her all the time.

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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby criddic3 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:50 am

People must have liked her at one time or she wouldn't have lasted over 11 years. Nobody in (democratic) elective politics lasts that long without having some support. It is also inevitable that you will make enemies. You can't be liked by 100% of the people all the time. A good example is Ronald Reagan here in America. He won 49 states in 1984 but he can still spark debate about his accomplishments. It's the nature of politics.
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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby Okri » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:25 pm

The New York Magazine on Streep

"“Oh, God, another damn impersonation … Streep and her accents … Might as well give her the Oscar nomination now … the Great Lady of Cinema … We’ll see the acting, that’s for sure. Can’t she ever just be real? I’m not falling for her pyrotechnics again, I’m hardened to her virtuosity … Here we go. Looks like they start when Thatcher is old and losing it. Gee, Meryl, what big English teeth you have. Holy shit, that’s good makeup, and they know how to light her like they didn’t poor Leo in J. Edgar. Well, to be fair, she makes the makeup work because she moves her facial muscles like an old lady would … Now she’s talking to Jim Broadbent as her dead husband, Denis … It’s so private the way she teases him I’m almost embarrassed. Okay, she does the old lady well, but what about the flashbacks to when she’s middle-aged? Hunh. She sounds like Thatcher. She has a great ear. She gets the music in the voice and through the music the mind and through the mind the emotions and through the emotions the way the body takes the space. Yes, that’s how Thatcher took the space. She had to, as a woman. I feel I understand Palin better and Bachmann and even that chucklehead Christine O’Donnell … I don’t think Thatcher’s intellect was flexible, but I now see where it’s coming from. This is … uncanny. This is … one of the greatest impersonations I’ve ever seen. It’s so distilled but so in the moment, so real. Curse you, Meryl Streep! You’ve won again. You’re too frigging marvelous to resist.” "

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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby rudeboy » Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:16 am

She's anything but a national hero. I grew up in the left-wing heartland of the northeast of England but live in London now... and even those acquaintances of mine who lean to the right, for the most part, detest this woman and the mess she made of this country. I don't recall the last time I spoke to anyone who had anything positive to say about her. Even those Tories who were firm supporters - such as foreign secretary William Hague - are cautious when talking about Thatcher in more recent years.

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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:24 am

nightwingnova wrote:Nevertheless, the Reuters/Ipsos MORI poll of July 2011 finds that a plurality of Brits (36%) believe Thatcher is the most capable prime minister of the past 30 years; Tony Blair comes in second at 25%.



But then, of course, she would also largely win a poll on "the least capable prime minister of the past 30 years" - and, I guess, with more than 36% of the votes. She's that kind of polarizing political leader - I'm very often in London and no, a national hero she isn't. (Unless, of course, the recent economical crisis has led to a kind of misguided nostalgy, as it often happens).

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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby Sonic Youth » Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:05 am

nightwingnova wrote:I don't understand why we are bringing politics into a discussion about the quality of an allegedly generic bio pic. I only stated fact.

I acknowledge the British arts community hates her. But, the Variety review refers only to "left-leaning audiences," not all Brits.

Nevertheless, the Reuters/Ipsos MORI poll of July 2011 finds that a plurality of Brits (36%) believe Thatcher is the most capable prime minister of the past 30 years;


That would mean that a majority of 64% don't believe Thatcher was the most capable prime minister of the past 30 years.

Also, she is the only former prime minister while living to have a statue erected in her honor in the House of Lords and a portrait of her hung at 10 Downing Street.


So what's the House of Lords? Its an exclusive country club. You think they'd dare try it if they were an elected body?

I only have this personal anectdote, and I know personal anecdotes mean very little. But the only time I was in London was in 2003 (not including airport stopovers), and we took one of those double-decker tour buses around the city. The tour guide was something of a comedian (which is encouraged by the company), and when we passed Maggie's place of residence... well, let's just say it wasn't pretty. Basically the tone was "Ugh, that's where the vile dragon lady lives", and one of his jokes was "As you can see, there is a guard standing outside the entryway at all times. They'll tell you that guard is there to keep anyone from entering the premises. In actuality, he's there to keep her from leaving." And the entire bus, or at least the upper half, laughed, and they consisted mostly of Brits.
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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:32 am

Hollywood Reporter
Just as Thatcher continues to have passionate champions and detractors more than two decades after the end of her eventful 11½-year tenure as U.K. Prime Minister, the film stands to split audiences. Some will likely admire its even-handedness while others may find its point of view timid and mollifying, shaped less by objective detachment than by the distorting lens of compassion.

It’s a standard and probably silly assumption that any release skewing toward the specialty end of the theatrical market will take a liberal position. That seems even more of a given when the subject is an archconservative who reshaped Britain and was a galvanizing force on the world political stage. But the film goes to considerable pains to fudge its point of view.

Whether you see this as a shrewd move or a cop-out, the filmmakers have played it both ways, allowing Thatcher to be read as either a towering leader or a bullying monster, depending on your politics. Accessing the central character as an enfeebled, lonely widow grappling with an unreliable memory is a sure way to blur the picture. That means fears among Tory prognosticators in Britain that this was going to be a hatchet job prove largely unfounded.


The Hollywood Reporter, as quoted above, seems to indicate that the film covers all the political bases. The U.S. reviews miroor the initial British take from both ends of the political spectrum that Streep is definitely award-worthy even if the film itself may not be.
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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby nightwingnova » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:08 am

I don't understand why we are bringing politics into a discussion about the quality of an allegedly generic bio pic. I only stated fact.

I acknowledge the British arts community hates her. But, the Variety review refers only to "left-leaning audiences," not all Brits.

Nevertheless, the Reuters/Ipsos MORI poll of July 2011 finds that a plurality of Brits (36%) believe Thatcher is the most capable prime minister of the past 30 years; Tony Blair comes in second at 25%. Blair, however, is chosen by 26% as the most likable, with Thatcher second at 22%.

Also, she is the only former prime minister while living to have a statue erected in her honor in the House of Lords and a portrait of her hung at 10 Downing Street.

I only stated a fact.

http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpubli ... ister.aspx


Damien wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:Variety

The Iron Lady
(U.K.)
By Leslie Felperin
left-leaning auds in particular will chafe at what an easy ride the film gives its protagonist, still deeply reviled by many Brits.


Didn't some clown here try to put forth the absurdity that this person was a "national hero"? Glad that Variety sets the record straight.

God, this movie sounds repulsive. And may be the first film in decades nominated for an acting Oscar that I skip.

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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby Damien » Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:26 am

Best treatment ever of this vile woman in the arts. From Billy Elliot, the musical. Merry Christmas, Maggie Thatcher {"We all celebrate this day because it's one day closer to your death,"} Well said, mate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l51fXC3SsQ0
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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby Damien » Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:37 am

Mister Tee wrote:Variety

The Iron Lady
(U.K.)
By Leslie Felperin
left-leaning auds in particular will chafe at what an easy ride the film gives its protagonist, still deeply reviled by many Brits.


Didn't some clown here try to put forth the absurdity that this person was a "national hero"? Glad that Variety sets the record straight.

God, this movie sounds repulsive. And may be the first film in decades nominated for an acting Oscar that I skip.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby nightwingnova » Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:24 am

Interesting. Sounds like Streep may be blowing everyone away. Certainly the most challenging female lead role of the year.

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Re: The Iron Lady reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:39 pm

Screen Daily

The Iron Lady
23 November, 2011 | By Mark Adams, chief film critic

Dir: Phyllida Lloyd. UK-France. 2011. 104mins

Meryl Streep delivers a nomination-friendly – and physically pretty much spot-on – performance as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the oddly superficial The Iron Lady, a film that reinforces the legend and tolerates little dissent (rather like the woman herself) as it potters through a political and personal life that straddled remarkable times. But while the script is littered with fine moments of dialogue, the film is low on drama or dynamic direction and relies on the ever-impressive Streep to save it from being just another biopic.

Meryl Streep’s wonderful performance is the film’s driving force.
The Iron Lady opens at the end of the year in the US and Australia/New Zealand and on January 6 in the UK. It is in its home country where it is most likely to divide opinion – in the US old-time Republicans may still have a soft spot for Maggie (or Baroness Thatcher as she is now), but in the UK she is still a figure who excites strong debate and divides opinion, and despite the presence of Streep the film will be a tough sell into some urban city areas which are resolutely anti-conservative and stridently anti-Thatcher.

It may well be that The Iron Lady is a film packed with strong performances and structured in an almost theatre-style manner (it could easily exist as a stage-bound production), but there is no separating the politics – especially in the UK – from the production.

The film opens delightfully as doddery old Maggie has slipped her heavily armed minders and popped round to the local shop to buy a pint of milk. She returns to her Chester Square flat to make tea and boiled eggs for loyal husband Dennis (Jim Broadbent, as effortlessly charming as always).

But when her loyal aide June (Susan Brown) comes into the kitchen it is revealed that Margaret is sitting alone at the breakfast table. Dennis has in reality died some time ago, though to her he is still very much alive. She is due to finally clear out his clothes from their wardrobe, and the prospect of having to do this triggers a series of memories for her.

While attending a dinner party with her daughter Carol (Olivia Colman in a sweet and amusing performance) she recalls the moment she first met Denis 60 years earlier, and reflects on the origins of her political ambitions as the young Margaret (Alexandra Roach, one of this year’s Screen International Stars of Tomorrow) listened to her greengrocer father (Iain Glenn) talk at political meetings.

The doddery old Margaret also recalls her love for Dennis and happy times with her young children Carol and Mark, but also acknowledges the conviction and ambition that saw her win her seat in Parliament, start an on-going battle with the fuddy-duddy establishment and finally decide to run for leader of the Conservative party.

Her resolute conviction sees her battle against Unions and tackle civil unrest and also have to deal with the death of her friend – and according to the film, mentor – Airey Neave (Nicolas Farrell in a charming performance) in a bomb attack. It is all handled in a quite perfunctory manner in the film, with even possibly the most dramatic (in terms of tangible impact to Thatcher) moment, when her Brighton hotel room is torn apart in an IRA bomb blast, filmed in rather matter-of-fact style and a sense of dramatic opportunities lost.

Thatcher has her Churchill moment as she turns her attentions to Argentina when it invaded the British held Falkland Islands, ordering a Naval taskforce to take on the country and refusing to back down even in the face of considerable casualties. Her determination leads to victory, but in the coming months she starts to lose the support of her cabinet and eventually has to make a final exit from 10 Downing Street.

Meryl Streep’s wonderful performance is the film’s driving force and she manages to capture Thatcher’s determined stare; her demure-but-dangerous disposition and her posture perfectly, especially in the scenes of Maggie as an elderly and slighted demented pensioner. Her towering performance goes some way in papering over Phyllida Lloyd’s workmanlike direction that delivers a film that is affectionate rather than investigative and romantic rather than realistic.

Lloyd and Streep, of course, worked together on the successful Mamma Mia!, and even The Iron Lady has a few musical references as Maggie dwells on her favourite musical The King And I, and also gets to have a little dance with Dennis. The film also has a The King’s Speech moment as Maggie is given lessons on vocal training and presentation as she prepares to make her bid for the Conservative leadership.

Streep’s performance is mightily aided by astonishingly good hair and make-up from J. Roy Helland, who should also be a shoe-in when it comes to awards nomination time.

The Iron Lady is diverting rather than absorbing, offering up essentially the story of an old woman who dwells on her past – never with regret or shame, but only with affection. The fact that this woman was such an important figure in 20th century British politics and society seems to be almost an afterthought.


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