I was absolutely convinced that the reason this movie was getting mixed reviews was due to the fact that Margaret Thatcher was a political conservative and occasionally—just occasionally—critics let their politics sway their opinion of a film. Yes, politically this film does play like a campaign ad for anyone running in the Republican primary. But unfortunately, the film just misses the mark.
Our story begins at the end. A retired Thatcher (Meryl Streep) is struggling with dementia, padding around her home having delusional conversations with her deceased husband, Denis (Jim Broadbent). The film then flashes back to a young Margaret Roberts (Alexandra Roach), a grocer’s daughter and Oxford graduate pursuing her Parliamentary dream and eventually becoming the first female British prime minister.
Let me pause for a moment to acknowledge Meryl Streep’s performance. I know we all have grown to expect her spot-on accents and picture-perfect acting, but this turn is truly astounding. I didn’t think anyone could challenge Michelle Williams’s performance as Marilyn Monroe, but Streep could easily be adding another statue to her considerable collection. That being said, the film in its entirety is just OK. It lacks a framework and huge moments like the Faukland Islands conflict and the collapse of the Berlin Wall are glossed over. Margaret Thatcher’s greatest accomplishment was that she took an economy in shambles and repaired it. Unfortunately, it’s hard to make an engaging movie about that. Streep is a 10. The film is a 6.