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The Iron Lady (2011)

tomatometer

51

Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 207
Fresh: 106 | Rotten: 101

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

52

Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 46
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 22

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

audience

51

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 96,110

My Rating

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

PG-13,

Art House & International, Drama

Abi Morgan, Michael Hirst

Apr 10, 2012

$30.0M

The Weinstein Co. - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (210) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (106) | Rotten (101) | DVD (8)

Yes, Streep is wondrous as usual, but her superpowers have been squandered here.

January 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Detroit News | Comment (1)
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Iron Lady is a performance in search of a film.

January 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Comments (2)
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Often "The Iron Lady" relies on montages to get to - and plow through - historic high points.

January 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Streep's] performance overpowers the movie it's in - a perfectly executed triple axel that renders everything else just featureless ice.

January 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Streep's performance is so true and so uncannily accurate, so full and so complete in its understanding, that she is fascinating every second she is onscreen.

January 12, 2012 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Comments (2)
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Streep, no fan of Thatcher, nicely undercuts the poignancy of her current condition with flashbacks that reveal her brittle arrogance in office.

January 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

November 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
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.

September 25, 2013 Full Review Source: FoxNews.com
FoxNews.com

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

June 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Big Hollywood
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.

June 14, 2013 Full Review Source: FilmDrunk
FilmDrunk

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.

April 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Las Vegas CityLife

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

March 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Star
Daily Star

Meryl Streep mesmerises in her portrayal of Britain's groundbreaking but controversial leader.

March 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Concrete Playground
Concrete Playground

As it stands, The Iron Lady isn't doing any favours for history, feminism or at the very least fans of biopics, but it is a clear victory for Streep. It's just too bad that the film doesn't do her spot-on performance any justice.

January 29, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

There's a great story to be told about the life of Margaret Thatcher. Unfortunately, this is not it.

September 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Examiner.com
Examiner.com

As it stands, The Iron Lady isn't doing any favours for history, feminism or at the very least fans of biopics, but it is a clear victory for Streep.

September 15, 2012 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

Streep brilliantly conveying the movie's ultimate message: After all you accomplish in this life, it's the little things that may just be our intended destinies.

September 4, 2012 Full Review Source: NECN

With everything, including the most pivotal moments, rendered in shorthand, The Iron Lady diminishes the accomplishments of the person whose story it tells and the actress working so hard to offer a well-rounded embodiment of her.

August 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

The filmmakers haven't come to any conclusion about Thatcher or, indeed, why they made a movie about her.

April 30, 2012 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Not as satisfying as 'Kings Speech' or 'The Queen' but Streep's predictably flawless performance of Margaret Thatcher induces awe and rousing audience response.

April 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

Streep's performance of a dismissive line such as "People don't think anymore, they feel," will have even the most dyed-in-the-wool liberal questioning core beliefs.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service | Comments (3)
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Loved and loathed in equal measure, Margaret Thatcher is a difficult subject for any film, how do you make 'the Iron Lady' a sympathetic character? Why would disconcerting audiences flock to see this film?

March 10, 2012 Full Review Source: UTV | Comments (2)

Meryl Streep singlehandedly carries The Iron Lady with a performance-quite literally-for the ages.

March 2, 2012 Full Review Source: JWR

full review at Movies for the Masses

February 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

Mesmo beneficiada por uma performance impecável de Meryl Streep, acaba soando mais como um cruzamento entre Uma Mente Brilhante e A Vida é Dura - A História de Dewey Cox.

February 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Although this film contains a great performance by Streep (one of the greatest actors of her generation) and strong supporting performances, the muddled multi-flashback story spends far too much time on Thatcher's late life mental problems.

February 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope | Comments (2)
Laramie Movie Scope

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.
April 1, 2014
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

Mediocre and diffuse. With all her great performances Meryl Streep won an Oscar for this? She has been much better elsewhere.
May 10, 2013
jjnxn
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.
March 22, 2013
maxthesax
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

Biodrama..my favorite genre. Meryl Streep..an actress that I most admire. Put these two things together, and I have a film that I very much enjoyed. Not terribly fast paced, but definitely well done, and quite interesting...
March 7, 2013
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

    1. Margaret Thatcher: If you take the tough decisions, people will hate you today, but they will love you in generations.
    – Submitted by Typhon Q (10 months ago)
    1. Margaret Thatcher: One of the greatest problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas. Now, thoughts and ideas, that interests me.
    – Submitted by Typhon Q (10 months ago)
    1. Margaret Thatcher: Gentlemen, shall we join the ladies?
    – Submitted by Rawballs B (12 months ago)
    1. Margaret Thatcher: Watch your thoughts, for they will become actions. Watch your actions, for they'll become... habits. Watch your habits for they will forge your character. Watch your character, for it will make your destiny.
    – Submitted by Dave M (21 months ago)
    1. Margaret Thatcher: Well, it used to be about trying to do something. Now it is about trying to be someone.
    – Submitted by Chad E (21 months ago)
    1. Denis Thatcher: Yes, the medicine is harsh, but the patient requires it in order to live. Should we withhold the medicine? No.
    – Submitted by Hussein A (23 months ago)
View all quotes (25)

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Foreign Titles

  • Die Eiserne Lady (DE)
  • La dame de fer (FR)
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