Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Iron Lady (2011)

Rating: 6.9/10

" It used to be about trying to do something. Now it's about trying to be someone."

'The Iron Lady' is a much talked about film these days; Having won the Academy Award for Best Actress with Meryl Streep this film has gone to be hailed as an anthem for the English's ex-ruler Margaret Thatcher.

As a political genre film this does not sets its basis only in with the politics factor. The film cleverly takes us on a journey to discover the unknown life of Margaret Thatcher, from the time she was a young lady till the time she became an old lady. Flashbacks were a must for the story, something which made the film quite rough around its edges. The non-linear narration was quite complex, thus leaving the audience at times perplexed and confused as to how they should feel for Streep's role.

Although the directing seems to be sailing with a smooth pacing, Phyllida  Lloyd does not fully succeed in her vision to make us fully sympathize or even understand the purpose of the film; whether we like the protagonist or not and what purpose did her life and actions served at the end. Albeit these minor flaws the film has a lot of emotional background, taking us slowly into the mentality of the Iron Lady and at the end releasing us into her world of hallucinations.

There's too little I can say for the real-life Iron Lady of the cinema though; whatever I put into words for Streep's acting would be pointless enough, as this actress never seems to fail in every portrayal she may give. In my opinion the Oscar was well deserved, not because of the girth and the humanity she brought into this role but because of the pieces she gave from her heart into Maggie Thatcher's character. You could feel her pain, her loss, her hallucinations, her long-forgotten glories, her strength, her ambition and her love for everything she may have tried to do. For Streep it wasn't just to portray the goodness in this character but to present her reality, with the good and the bad equally and in the end to let you decide on the qualities that this character deserves.

A wonderful achievement of the recreation of so many different decades would be in order for the costume designer, Simon Elliot (North & South TV Mini Series), who literally had an overwhelming task to achieve in his creation of the first lady in the English Cabinet. Superb production design.

And it would be a mishap on my behalf if I failed to mention the always breath-taking music score of Thomas Newman (American Beauty, Shawshank Redemption) who as always was not much appreciated for his astounding work. Truly a remarkable musical score.

And last but not least, it is only fair to mention Steep's co-star and brilliant's not too good enough of a word to describe this actor...the extraordinary Jim Broadbent. What a colossal performance each time this thespian gives. He truly is the modern embodiment of a thespian. Always carries his performance on screen with such ease. In the Iron Lady he was so carefree, so pious and willing to give an emotional portrayal of his relationship with Streep that it couldn't fail but move the viewer.

As a last thumbs up I would give to the young, and yet so far unknown, actress who portrayed Margaret Thatcher as a young lady, Alexandra Roach. In my opinion she is among the newly rising British actresses and would love to see more of her in the near future. She had the zeal and the stamina to portray such a crucial character and yet she did not fail.

The film as a whole does not say a lot, but the performances speak aloud. Watch it for the  brilliant acting and the production design and relish for a little while how it must have been for a lady of Thatcher's stature. Albeit many people suffered under her time of ruling, she did leave her political mark in the British people; restrain.

The Iron Lady (2011)

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