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Meryl Streep's performance as The Iron Lady is reliably perfect, but it's mired in bland, self-important storytelling.
All Critics (226)
| Top Critics (50)
| Fresh (116)
| Rotten (110)
| DVD (6)
What keeps The Iron Lady afloat is the mesmerizing work of its star. As we already know, Streep goes beyond mimicry to fully inhabit her characters, from The French Lieutenant's Woman to Julia Child.
Yes, Streep is wondrous as usual, but her superpowers have been squandered here.
The Iron Lady is a performance in search of a film.
Often "The Iron Lady" relies on montages to get to - and plow through - historic high points.
[Streep's] performance overpowers the movie it's in - a perfectly executed triple axel that renders everything else just featureless ice.
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.
As a portrait of a once-powerful woman coping with loss of her faculties, it is sensitive, it is subtle, it is acute. As a portrait of one of the primary leaders of a Western government, it feels partisan...and nonspecific, which is unfortunate.
Streep, a prominent presence throughout, truly carries the film.
This film was written by, directed by, and stars women. But it's the most anti-female film I've seen in quite some time.
Ultimately saved by its intriguing modern day sequences and an unbelievable example of mimicry from Streep.
The film in its entirety is just OK
The Iron Lady is a better performance than it is film, although I suspect the performance will carry the day.
Apart from Streep's performance, nothing else works in this terrible, disjointed mess of a biopic that is so badly written and directed, full of illogical narrative elements (the schizophrenia thing is unbelievable) and trying hard to soften the image of the character in an entirely artificial way.
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.
Mediocre and diffuse. With all her great performances Meryl Streep won an Oscar for this? She has been much better elsewhere.
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.
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