Critics Consensus: Streep Carries The Iron Lady

Plus, there are some solid limited openings and plenty of Certified Fresh films in theaters this week.

Happy Holidays! This week at the movies brings no new wide releases, but we've got one hotly anticipated limited -- The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. What do the critics have to say?

The Iron Lady

51%

Meryl Streep's playing Margaret Thatcher -- sounds like The Iron Lady is bound for awards season glory, right? Well, the critics say Streep does a great job with the role -- it's the movie around her that doesn't quite know what it wants to say. The Iron Lady delves into the personal and political life of the pioneering and polarizing British prime minister on the eve of the 1982 Falklands War -- a period of turmoil for a woman who altered the landscape of British politics. The pundits say Streep is terrific as always -- and worth the price of admission -- but the rest of the movie is strangely unfocused and lacking in insight. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Streep's best-reviewed films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • El sicario: Room 164, a documentary about a hitman for Mexican drug cartels, is at 100 percent.
  • A Separation, a drama about the dissolution of an Iranian couple's marriage, is at 100 percent.
  • Pariah, a coming-of-age drama about an inner-city teenager who's in the process of coming out of the closet, is at 97 percent.
  • Chico & Rita, an animated musical about a longtime affair between two Cuban musicians, is at 95 percent.
  • Angels Crest, starring Jeremy Piven and Thomas Dekker in a drama about the impact of a child's death on a tight-knit small town, is at 33 percent.

And don't forget, a bunch of last week's releases -- Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, The Adventures of Tintin, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, War Horse, and Pina -- are Certified Fresh.

Comments

DKUK

Derrick Wong

They should have done a genre mash up here like The Iron Lady: Zombie Hunter....

Dec 29 - 04:42 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I caught The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last night, and I thought it was very good. Not great, but still very good. I think most, if not all to be honest, of the problems were inherent from the source material and less a fault of Fincher. Craig and Mara were both excellent as well, hope they get some love come Oscar time (Craig does not have a chance, but I'm rooting for Mara). I genuinely cared about them in the movie, and the ending, eventhough it was great and fit the tone of the filme very well, actually made me feel pretty sad, so I would say it was definitely a success.

Dec 29 - 07:20 PM

dudemeister

dude meister

GODDAMN YOU CRUNK! I can't watch the flick till after I'm done with exams and you ARE. NOT. HELPING. Seeing as I'm hearing more and more that the only real flaws are that of the book, I think I will adore TGWTDT, as I loved the book. DAMN IT CRUNK!

Dec 30 - 10:42 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Haha, sorry man. If you loved the book, you probably will love the movie, too (eventhough the ending is altered a little bit). My only real complaint is that it took a little too long for Lisbeth's side of things to get going. Mikael's story got rolling very smoothly, with him making his way to the island and getting into the meat of the story, which is the murder mystery. On the other hand, the beginning of Lisbeth's side of things seems like it is meandering for a little while before it gains traction and she eventually meets Mikael. I had a similiar problem with the last ten or so minutes, which wraps up Mikael's problems. I liked that each of the leads had their own side story apart from the Vanger mystery to flesh out their characters and what not, but I think Fincher could have improved things had he done a little altering of the way events unfolded, not even necessarily changing them. But again, I blame this more on Larsson's source material and the way he structured the story, and less on Fincher's adaptation of it.

Dec 30 - 11:26 AM

dudemeister

dude meister

I've heard of the new ending, and it's much better than how the book resolved the case to me, which I thought was done in a bit of a corny way, and kinda sullyed the whole moody/macarbre tone the book had going for it. Much more realistic. The flaws you listed were certainly the same the book had, and I've managed to overlook it, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue. Besides, when you're adapting a book with this much popularity, you have to be very faithful to the source material or face a HUGE backlash. The few changes that Fincher's made to the source material seem better, and I firmly believe he's saving those two omissions SPOILERS (Mikael's book & Lisbeth's mother) for the sequels. On a side note, I've been checking on the film's box office stats and I'm glad to see it's holding on pretty decently, and the fact that it's on the EW cover shows that Sony's confident in the flicks. Now as for the sequels, I really don't think anyone would mind them not being as faithful, hell, everyone would very much rather PREFER it being less faithful. They're still good reads, but they're at least ten times more meandering than the first, and I didn't like how it turned into a poor man's spy thriller towards the end, SPOILERS AGAIN Zaillian & Fincher should really think of another backstory to Zalachenko.

Dec 30 - 12:11 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I caught the Swedish version recently. Fincher has made a much better film, but honestly, I have to give the edge to Noomi Rapace over Rooney Mara.

Dec 31 - 08:51 AM

dudemeister

dude meister

@Janson, even though I haven't seen it yet, I feel that I am bound to disagree with you. I thought Noomi Rapace gave a good performance, it was overrated and a bit one-dimensional for me. All she really did was look pissed and mope in my opinion. She gave a great performance, but it didn't capture who Lisbeth was in my eyes, from what I've seen, it looks like Rooney Mara seems to have perfectly captured Lisbeth, when I re-read the book recently, I thought of Lisbeth as Rooney, not Noomi.

Dec 31 - 12:43 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

They were both impressive performances, don't get me wrong. This is an example where Mara's 'interpretation' becomes a valid argument. Very different, but that's just my call.

Jan 2 - 11:11 AM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

Who had the best guess for Darkest Hour's T-Meter last week? Anyway, this is another catch up week. Iron lady seems like My week with Marolyn. It seems pretty much just made to show off Streep's acting talents again. I am interest in the seperation, as that was Ebert's number 1 movie on his top 10 list. Mission Impossible will easily win number 1 again at the B.O

Dec 29 - 08:07 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Grounder at the Movies at 14%.

Dec 30 - 03:52 PM

Jerry R.

Jerry Roberts

I think that the movie wants to have the same kind of affection for Margaret Thatcher that Stephen Frears' The Queen had for Queen Elizabeth II. The difference is that, that film dealt with a specific period in The Queen's life and didn't try to encompass her entire career. I think that may have been a better approach for The Iron Lady. Perhaps if the film had simply dealt with Margaret Thatcher in the present, it might have been a much more effective film. The scenes depicting the elder Thatcher have much more gravity and weight. We can see the aging of a woman we know all too well. Those scenes have a certain dramatic power and, of course, Meryl Streep's wonderful performance (I am recommending it on that basis), but as for the public image, I think the film needed a little more work.

Dec 29 - 10:51 PM

Flash T.

Flash T

Hopefully the Iron lady will have a happy fantasy ending envolving Thatchers death, followed up with everyone north of Watford digging a hole so deep that they can hande her to Satan personally.

A film desparate to cash in on other British successes like The Queen etc but willfully ignoring all the hurt and long term destruction she brought on not onlyy the UK but the world.

Dec 30 - 03:27 AM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

I thought Iron Lady was gonna get stellar reviews. Oh well. I'll catch Tintin this weekend.

Dec 29 - 11:33 PM

Flash T.

Flash T

Hopefully the Iron lady will have a happy fantasy ending envolving Thatchers death, followed up with everyone north of Watford digging a hole so deep that they can hande her to Satan personally.

A film desparate to cash in on other British successes like The Queen etc but willfully ignoring all the hurt and long term destruction she brought on not onlyy the UK but the world.

Dec 30 - 03:27 AM

sunsaz

Chris Moore

If they can't keep that TM above 60, might as well give Michelle Williams the Oscar right now.

Dec 30 - 04:49 AM

Vann Vicente

Vann Vicente

It's the Academy. They couldn't give a flying shit about the Tomatometer. It's the same reason why Streep, Davis, and Williams are all on equal footing regardless of The Help and The Iron Lady's average reviews, and the reason why Glenn Close has an actual chance of a nom.

Dec 30 - 08:08 AM

sunsaz

Chris Moore

I'm aware that the Academy couldn't care less about what the critics think. But statistically speaking, the last time a Best Actress Oscar was handed out to a film with a "rotten" rating was 1936 (Luise Rainer for "The Great Ziegfeld"). Last time any actress won an Oscar for a "rotten" film was in 1978 when Maggie Smith won Supporting Actress for "California Suite."

I'm not saying Streep has no chance whatsoever. But from my experience, when filling out your Oscar ballots, it usually helps to read between the lines.

Dec 30 - 05:58 PM

Vann Vicente

Vann Vicente

Wait a minute. So you're trying to imply that if this movie became Fresh (few critics have reviewed it so far), that would mean that it's likelier for Streep to win? It doesn't matter what the rating is. The Blind Side was 65 I think? If that number came down to 59, then does that mean that Sandra would've been less likely to win it? Statistics involving an aggregation website mean absolutely nothing, especially when it comes to something like this.

What should matter is that every critic out there says that Streep is incredible. I think that matters more.

Dec 30 - 07:54 PM

Vann Vicente

Vann Vicente

Also, Angelina Jolie, 1999, Girl Interrupted. 53% on the T-Meter. Won best supporting actress.

Dec 30 - 07:56 PM

sunsaz

Chris Moore

Damn. I knew I missed one. Still, the supporting and lead categories are still a world of difference.

Dec 31 - 03:59 AM

Vann Vicente

Vann Vicente

You were the one who mentioned the supporting record in the first place. I was just correcting your mistake.

Dec 31 - 06:02 AM

Vann Vicente

Vann Vicente

It's the Academy. They couldn't give a flying shit about the Tomatometer. It's the same reason why Streep, Davis, and Williams are all on equal footing regardless of The Help and The Iron Lady's average reviews, and the reason why Glenn Close has an actual chance of a nom.

Dec 30 - 08:08 AM

sunsaz

Chris Moore

I'm aware that the Academy couldn't care less about what the critics think. But statistically speaking, the last time a Best Actress Oscar was handed out to a film with a "rotten" rating was 1936 (Luise Rainer for "The Great Ziegfeld"). Last time any actress won an Oscar for a "rotten" film was in 1978 when Maggie Smith won Supporting Actress for "California Suite."

I'm not saying Streep has no chance whatsoever. But from my experience, when filling out your Oscar ballots, it usually helps to read between the lines.

Dec 30 - 05:58 PM

Vann Vicente

Vann Vicente

Wait a minute. So you're trying to imply that if this movie became Fresh (few critics have reviewed it so far), that would mean that it's likelier for Streep to win? It doesn't matter what the rating is. The Blind Side was 65 I think? If that number came down to 59, then does that mean that Sandra would've been less likely to win it? Statistics involving an aggregation website mean absolutely nothing, especially when it comes to something like this.

What should matter is that every critic out there says that Streep is incredible. I think that matters more.

Dec 30 - 07:54 PM

Vann Vicente

Vann Vicente

Also, Angelina Jolie, 1999, Girl Interrupted. 53% on the T-Meter. Won best supporting actress.

Dec 30 - 07:56 PM

sunsaz

Chris Moore

Damn. I knew I missed one. Still, the supporting and lead categories are still a world of difference.

Dec 31 - 03:59 AM

Vann Vicente

Vann Vicente

You were the one who mentioned the supporting record in the first place. I was just correcting your mistake.

Dec 31 - 06:02 AM

dudemeister

dude meister

GODDAMN YOU CRUNK! I can't watch the flick till after I'm done with exams and you ARE. NOT. HELPING. Seeing as I'm hearing more and more that the only real flaws are that of the book, I think I will adore TGWTDT, as I loved the book. DAMN IT CRUNK!

Dec 30 - 10:42 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Haha, sorry man. If you loved the book, you probably will love the movie, too (eventhough the ending is altered a little bit). My only real complaint is that it took a little too long for Lisbeth's side of things to get going. Mikael's story got rolling very smoothly, with him making his way to the island and getting into the meat of the story, which is the murder mystery. On the other hand, the beginning of Lisbeth's side of things seems like it is meandering for a little while before it gains traction and she eventually meets Mikael. I had a similiar problem with the last ten or so minutes, which wraps up Mikael's problems. I liked that each of the leads had their own side story apart from the Vanger mystery to flesh out their characters and what not, but I think Fincher could have improved things had he done a little altering of the way events unfolded, not even necessarily changing them. But again, I blame this more on Larsson's source material and the way he structured the story, and less on Fincher's adaptation of it.

Dec 30 - 11:26 AM

dudemeister

dude meister

I've heard of the new ending, and it's much better than how the book resolved the case to me, which I thought was done in a bit of a corny way, and kinda sullyed the whole moody/macarbre tone the book had going for it. Much more realistic. The flaws you listed were certainly the same the book had, and I've managed to overlook it, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue. Besides, when you're adapting a book with this much popularity, you have to be very faithful to the source material or face a HUGE backlash. The few changes that Fincher's made to the source material seem better, and I firmly believe he's saving those two omissions SPOILERS (Mikael's book & Lisbeth's mother) for the sequels. On a side note, I've been checking on the film's box office stats and I'm glad to see it's holding on pretty decently, and the fact that it's on the EW cover shows that Sony's confident in the flicks. Now as for the sequels, I really don't think anyone would mind them not being as faithful, hell, everyone would very much rather PREFER it being less faithful. They're still good reads, but they're at least ten times more meandering than the first, and I didn't like how it turned into a poor man's spy thriller towards the end, SPOILERS AGAIN Zaillian & Fincher should really think of another backstory to Zalachenko.

Dec 30 - 12:11 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I caught the Swedish version recently. Fincher has made a much better film, but honestly, I have to give the edge to Noomi Rapace over Rooney Mara.

Dec 31 - 08:51 AM

dudemeister

dude meister

@Janson, even though I haven't seen it yet, I feel that I am bound to disagree with you. I thought Noomi Rapace gave a good performance, it was overrated and a bit one-dimensional for me. All she really did was look pissed and mope in my opinion. She gave a great performance, but it didn't capture who Lisbeth was in my eyes, from what I've seen, it looks like Rooney Mara seems to have perfectly captured Lisbeth, when I re-read the book recently, I thought of Lisbeth as Rooney, not Noomi.

Dec 31 - 12:43 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

They were both impressive performances, don't get me wrong. This is an example where Mara's 'interpretation' becomes a valid argument. Very different, but that's just my call.

Jan 2 - 11:11 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Haha, sorry man. If you loved the book, you probably will love the movie, too (eventhough the ending is altered a little bit). My only real complaint is that it took a little too long for Lisbeth's side of things to get going. Mikael's story got rolling very smoothly, with him making his way to the island and getting into the meat of the story, which is the murder mystery. On the other hand, the beginning of Lisbeth's side of things seems like it is meandering for a little while before it gains traction and she eventually meets Mikael. I had a similiar problem with the last ten or so minutes, which wraps up Mikael's problems. I liked that each of the leads had their own side story apart from the Vanger mystery to flesh out their characters and what not, but I think Fincher could have improved things had he done a little altering of the way events unfolded, not even necessarily changing them. But again, I blame this more on Larsson's source material and the way he structured the story, and less on Fincher's adaptation of it.

Dec 30 - 11:26 AM

dudemeister

dude meister

I've heard of the new ending, and it's much better than how the book resolved the case to me, which I thought was done in a bit of a corny way, and kinda sullyed the whole moody/macarbre tone the book had going for it. Much more realistic. The flaws you listed were certainly the same the book had, and I've managed to overlook it, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue. Besides, when you're adapting a book with this much popularity, you have to be very faithful to the source material or face a HUGE backlash. The few changes that Fincher's made to the source material seem better, and I firmly believe he's saving those two omissions SPOILERS (Mikael's book & Lisbeth's mother) for the sequels. On a side note, I've been checking on the film's box office stats and I'm glad to see it's holding on pretty decently, and the fact that it's on the EW cover shows that Sony's confident in the flicks. Now as for the sequels, I really don't think anyone would mind them not being as faithful, hell, everyone would very much rather PREFER it being less faithful. They're still good reads, but they're at least ten times more meandering than the first, and I didn't like how it turned into a poor man's spy thriller towards the end, SPOILERS AGAIN Zaillian & Fincher should really think of another backstory to Zalachenko.

Dec 30 - 12:11 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I caught the Swedish version recently. Fincher has made a much better film, but honestly, I have to give the edge to Noomi Rapace over Rooney Mara.

Dec 31 - 08:51 AM

dudemeister

dude meister

@Janson, even though I haven't seen it yet, I feel that I am bound to disagree with you. I thought Noomi Rapace gave a good performance, it was overrated and a bit one-dimensional for me. All she really did was look pissed and mope in my opinion. She gave a great performance, but it didn't capture who Lisbeth was in my eyes, from what I've seen, it looks like Rooney Mara seems to have perfectly captured Lisbeth, when I re-read the book recently, I thought of Lisbeth as Rooney, not Noomi.

Dec 31 - 12:43 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

They were both impressive performances, don't get me wrong. This is an example where Mara's 'interpretation' becomes a valid argument. Very different, but that's just my call.

Jan 2 - 11:11 AM

dudemeister

dude meister

I've heard of the new ending, and it's much better than how the book resolved the case to me, which I thought was done in a bit of a corny way, and kinda sullyed the whole moody/macarbre tone the book had going for it. Much more realistic. The flaws you listed were certainly the same the book had, and I've managed to overlook it, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue. Besides, when you're adapting a book with this much popularity, you have to be very faithful to the source material or face a HUGE backlash. The few changes that Fincher's made to the source material seem better, and I firmly believe he's saving those two omissions SPOILERS (Mikael's book & Lisbeth's mother) for the sequels. On a side note, I've been checking on the film's box office stats and I'm glad to see it's holding on pretty decently, and the fact that it's on the EW cover shows that Sony's confident in the flicks. Now as for the sequels, I really don't think anyone would mind them not being as faithful, hell, everyone would very much rather PREFER it being less faithful. They're still good reads, but they're at least ten times more meandering than the first, and I didn't like how it turned into a poor man's spy thriller towards the end, SPOILERS AGAIN Zaillian & Fincher should really think of another backstory to Zalachenko.

Dec 30 - 12:11 PM

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