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.



Total Count: 228


Audience Score

User Ratings: 97,121
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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


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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Critic Reviews for The Iron Lady

All Critics (228) | Top Critics (51) | Fresh (117) | Rotten (111)

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

    Jan 13, 2012 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    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

  • Sep 08, 2015
    Puts too much emphasis on feminism and her dementia. Thatcher would have hated it.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 02, 2013
    Ne rend pas hommage à tout ce que cette femme a pu changer!
    Marc-André B Super Reviewer
  • May 10, 2013
    No, "The Iron Lady" is not a spinoff from "Iron Man."(Sorry, couldn't resist.) Rather, it is about the life and times of Margaret Thatcher(Meryl Streep). While severely flawed with a narrow perspective, the movie still has some superb makeup and odd charm of its own to make it watchable. A lot of that involves setting a good deal of the movie with Thatcher in her dotage, trying to be self-sufficient like her former policies, but ironically ending up depending on the help of others. Admittedly, this format works as far as allowing Thatcher to be lost in her memories but goes on far too long with her being haunted by her late husband Denis(Jim Broadbent), forcing this uncomfortably in the general neighborhood of a Saturday Night Live sketch with a performance from Meryl Streep that plays primarily to the cheap seats, almost allowing Anthony Stewart Head to steal the movie. "The Iron Lady" dutifully recounts the main points of Thatcher's career to the point of where a documentary might have been the right way to go with such a divisive figure, thus allowing everybody the opportunity put in their two cents.(And there is an abundance of archival footage on display here anyway.) While the movie seeks to show that Thatcher was the only female member of parliament, it was not exactly true, as women were about 4% of the House of Commons until at least the 80's(Source: UK Political Info). Like any good anti-Communist, she liked her tyrants, like Pinochet(not mentioned here), and was here not fond of consensus which led to her welcome being worn out after 11 years, long after her career making triumph in the Falkland Islands War.(Tony Blair probably thought if it worked for her...) And am I the only person who hears Thatcher use the royal 'we' at one point? At least it would explain the "King and I" reference.(Phyllida Lloyd also directed "Mamma Mia," thus making her contribution to the auteur theory.)
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • May 02, 2013
    Mediocre and diffuse. With all her great performances Meryl Streep won an Oscar for this? She has been much better elsewhere.
    jay n Super Reviewer

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