The Iron Lady (2012)



Critic Consensus: Meryl Streep's performance as The Iron Lady is reliably perfect, but it's mired in bland, self-important storytelling.

Movie Info

The Iron Lady is a surprising and intimate portrait of Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep), the first and only female Prime Minister of The United Kingdom. One of the 20th century's most famous and influential women, Thatcher came from nowhere to smash through barriers of gender and class to be heard in a male dominated world. -- (C) Weinstein

Rating: PG-13 (for some violent images and brief nudity)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Michael Hirst, Abi Morgan
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 10, 2012
Box Office: $30.0M
The Weinstein Co. - Official Site


as Margaret Thatcher

as Denis Thatcher

as Young Denis Thatcher

as Geoffrey Howe

as Young Margaret Thatc...

as Gordon Reece

as Michael Heseltine

as Carol Thatcher

as Airey Neave

as Young Carol

as Ian Gilmour

as Francis Pym

as John Nott

as Jim Prior

as Alfred Roberts

as Michael Foot

as Shadow Minister

as Bridge-Susie

as Muriel Roberts

as Beatrice Roberts

as Hostess 1949

as Host 1949

as Female Guest 1949

as Grey Suited Guest 19...

as Male Guest 1949

as James R.

as James T.

as Edward Heath

as House of Commons Spe...

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as Cabinet Minister

as TV Interviewer

as Admiral Fieldhouse

as Admiral Leach

as Naval Attaché

as Alexander Haig

as Kenneth Kaunda
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Iron Lady

All Critics (210) | Top Critics (47)

So, as thrilling as it is to watch Streep imitate Thatcher, The Iron Lady feels like a missed opportunity, not to blame and cast aspersions, but to weigh and assess.

Full Review… | November 5, 2013
Film Comment Magazine

It's a pity Streep can't be picked up as Thatcher like a chess piece and placed down in a different, better film.

Full Review… | September 25, 2013

A solid tribute to the conservative icon despite its meandering focus on her failing health.

Full Review… | June 30, 2013
Big Hollywood

...ignores the political and historical context of almost EVERYTHING that happens so that they can make the fabulously reductive statement that LIFE WAS TOUGH FOR GIRLS, BUT SHE WAS A TOUGH GIRL.

Full Review… | June 14, 2013

The narrative is not well structured, and Streep's performance suffers as a result.... The scenes with Broadbent are the best. They just aren't worth sitting through a history lesson that isn't taught well.

Full Review… | April 21, 2013

Plucking the audience's heartstrings feels like the worst possible way to make a film about someone called The Iron Lady.

Full Review… | March 14, 2013
Daily Star

Audience Reviews for The Iron Lady

Undoubtedly Meryl Streep's performance as the former Prime Minister of the UK was so good it could only be method. The rest of the film, however, is not as cohesive and linear as I would have liked. Jumping around in time is a fine storytelling device, and usually brings a greater emphasis on the importance of the future, but here it's misused, obviously trying to mirror other more popular films. I didn't see any importance in seeing Thatcher in modern times, slightly demented by the death of her husband and her life out of the public arena. Though it may have been an important part of Thatcher's life, we don't even see her husband onscreen enough to warrant him invading her life in the last section of the film. Everything felt rushed, the set pieces were nonexistent, the side characters were forgettable, and the extent of her reach was glossed over for a message of "women need to be taken seriously, more often." Though Thatcher was a trailblazer, and deserved better than a swift kick out of power by her underlings, the tragedy of this undeserved political ploy was underwhelming onscreen. Because everything is rushed along we never grasp the importance of Thatcher's reign, or her true character, which you would think, in a biopic, would be important.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Mediocre and diffuse. With all her great performances Meryl Streep won an Oscar for this? She has been much better elsewhere.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Ms. Streep gives a valiant effort to breath life into the crinkly, yellowed parchment of a script. Every nuance perfect, as is the accent - every mannerism, from the steely, self assured Prime Minister to the dottering, confused octogenarian, Meryl gets it all so right; which is in direct opposition to the direction of Phyllida Lloyd. It's sad when the only real humanity shown in the film is in the portrayal of Dennis Thatcher by the great Jim Broadbent - ironic since he is playing a ghost for much of the film.

Lloyd's pacing leaves much to be desired as way too much time is spent establishing that the aged Thatcher is tottering on the edge of senility. Lloyd also chooses to tell the story in a disjointed jumble of recollections that strip away any drama, so instead of an insightful look into one of the strongest willed women of the 20th century (hence the title, something Lloyd should have paid attention to), you get a cliff notes outline of her political career. You come away knowing that she had the typical British stiff upper lip and an amazing resolve, but you never really know the woman - and isn't that the alleged point of a biopic?

The film is like a history class taught by a bad teacher - all date memorization with no human point of reference behind it; so in the end you have a curiosity piece that only satisfies because of yet another skilled performance to add to the Streep canon.

paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

The Iron Lady Quotes

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– Submitted by Typhon Q (22 months ago)
– Submitted by Rawballs B (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Dave M (2 years ago)

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