The Iron Lady


The Iron Lady

Critics Consensus

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



Reviews Counted: 226

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Reviews Count: 0
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Average Rating: 3.3/5

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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

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Meryl Streep
as Margaret Thatcher
Jim Broadbent
as Denis Thatcher
Harry Lloyd
as Young Denis Thatcher
Anthony Head
as Geoffrey Howe
Alexandra Roach
as Young Margaret Thatcher
Roger Allam
as Gordon Reece
Richard E. Grant
as Michael Heseltine
Olivia Colman
as Carol Thatcher
Nicholas Farrell
as Airey Neave
Eloise Webb
as Young Carol
Pip Torrens
as Ian Gilmour
Julian Wadham
as Francis Pym
Angus Wright
as John Nott
Nick Dunning
as Jim Prior
Iain Glen
as Alfred Roberts
Michael Pennington
as Michael Foot
David Westhead
as Shadow Minister
Phoebe Waller
as Bridge-Susie
Victoria Bewick
as Muriel Roberts
Emma Dewhurst
as Beatrice Roberts
Sylvestra Le Touzel
as Hostess 1949
Michael Culkin
as Host 1949
Stephanie Jacob
as Female Guest 1949
Robert Portal
as Grey Suited Guest 1949
Richard M. Dixon
as Male Guest 1949
Clifford Rose
as James R.
Jeremy Clyde
as James T.
John Sessions
as Edward Heath
Richard Syms
as House of Commons Speaker
John Harding
as Cabinet Minister
Simon Chandler
as Cabinet Minister
Stephen Boxer
as Cabinet Minister
Jasper Jacob
as Cabinet Minister
Rupert Vansittart
as Cabinet Minister
Robin Kermode
as Cabinet Minister
Andrew Havill
as Cabinet Minister
Michael Elwyn
as Cabinet Minister
Peter Pacey
as Cabinet Minister
Jeremy Child
as Cabinet Minister
James Smith
as Cabinet Minister
Hugh Ross
as Cabinet Minister
Chris Campbell
as Cabinet Minister
Paul Bentley
as Cabinet Minister
Martin Wimbush
as Cabinet Minister
Simon Slater
as Cabinet Minister
David Cann
as TV Interviewer
David Rintoul
as Admiral Fieldhouse
Nicholas Jones
as Admiral Leach
Richard Goulding
as Naval Attaché
Matthew Marsh
as Alexander Haig
Willie Jonah
as Kenneth Kaunda
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News & Interviews for The Iron Lady

Critic Reviews for The Iron Lady

All Critics (226) | Top Critics (50)

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.

Jan 13, 2012 | Full Review…

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

Jan 13, 2012 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
Detroit News
Top Critic

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

Jan 13, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

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

Jan 13, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4

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

Jan 13, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

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.

Jan 12, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Iron Lady

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.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.
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
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
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

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