The Iron Lady

Rated 3.0

Having Meryl Streep play the title role in a Margaret Thatcher biopic seems like a very good idea, but there are also times in The Iron Lady when that seems like the production’s only good idea. Streep’s Oscar-nominated performance is a triumph over heavily Thatcherized prosthetic make-up, if nothing else, and there’s a reliably professional cast of British actors in the mix—Jim Broadbent as Thatcher’s husband, Denis; Olivia Colman as the Thatchers’ daughter, Carol; Alexandra Roach and Harry Lloyd as Margaret and Denis in their younger days, etc. Many of the film’s apparent assets, however, are rather sadly neutralized by the decision of the filmmakers—director Phyllida Lloyd and writer Abi Morgan—to put Thatcher’s elderly years as the center of things. Morgan’s screenplay uses an almost random array of flashbacks to provide glimpses of Thatcher’s life, public and domestic alike, with results that are skimpy on the history, clich"d on the personal life, and often counterproductive with respect to character and drama. The end result is not so much a portrait of “the Iron Lady” as yet another demonstration of what a brave and resourceful trouper Streep is. Pageant Theatre. Rated PG-13