Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Iron Lady, dir. Phyllida Lloyd, wr. Abi Morgan, st. Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Richard E. Grant, Anthony Head

The Iron Lady is the latest in broad brush-stroked British biographing. More a montage of greatest hits of the metalled one herself, we see a present day Maggie, desperately fending off the onset of dementia as she recalls the past glories and former tragedies of her career. We see precious little of the nascent imbuing of steeliness in the young Thatcher (her spunkiness is reduced to being the only one of her family bold enough to venture out from under the table during an air raid to replace the glass cloche over a pat of butter). All of it, the strikes, the war, the bombing are ticked off with a curt nod, before segueing back into the present, where Margaret's Alzheimer's is seen to be symbiotically linked with the grief she has clung on to since her husband passed away. Whilst the film may be numbingly pedestrian, Meryl Streep gives a reference-grade performance, an absolute pleasure to watch. In tight close-ups there's almost too much to take in. Like the unseen penetration of an X-ray, Streep's inhabitation of character is immersive and absolute. In long shots her gait, every hesitant waver in step, every gesture is impeccably, undeniably MT. Surely a shoo-in for Best Actress (her 17th nomination) come February 26th?