OK, let me start with the good things. Meryl Streep and Olivia Colman. Their outstanding performances were the only things which kept me going through the screening. Olivia Colman only has a few scenes, but as Thatcher’s daughter Carole, she is heartbreaking watching her mother slipping away.
Meryl Streep will clearly win every award going for this portrayal of the once most powerful woman on the planet who succumbs to old age and illness like any normal human. And she will deserve all the gongs she gets.
However. This film is all over the place for lots of reasons.
There is much discussion around the way the story is presented, about whether the mixing of past and present works in this treatment.
I am firmly of the opinion that it doesn’t (work). If you want to make a film about how old age and infirmity catches up with even the strongest of us, then fine, go do that.
But you can’t make a film with Thatcher as the central character without examining the politics and emotions that accompanied the 80s and most of the 90s. The authentic news report footage of riots, bombs and protests barely scratched the surface, and explained nothing.
Jumping backwards and forwards in the time-line made the story clunky.
And I spent most of the film trying to guess which of the cabinet ministers were being impersonated by the array of British actors on display (hat-tip to Anthone Head though, who did a reasonable Geoffrey Howe).
I can’t decide if you should see this film purely for Streep’s performance, outstanding thought it is. I think I was supposed to feel sympathy for the elderly, infirm woman on the screen but I didn’t.
Meryl Streep isn’t that good 😉