Iron Lady Review

Iron Lady posterby E. Cain

I had a chance to see an advanced screening of Iron Lady, a new film starring Meryl Streep which follows the life of former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. And I liked it!

While Meryl Streep`s performance has been widely praised, the film itself has been criticized for being short on substance and long on sentimentality.

As a progressive, I say be prepared for disparaging (and predictable) references to trade unions, socialists, the poor, etc. However, I thought Meryl Streep`s portrayal of Thatcher was Oscar-worthy, and found the film’s strength to be in its depiction of how Thatcher broke through the gender barriers to become Britain’s first female Prime Minister.

Indeed, when Thatcher became Prime Minister, women made up only 3% of government. So it’s no surprise that in the film Thatcher is often shown flanked by male politicians and advisors. In fact, I noticed very few female roles in the film – other than her daughter, service staff and protestors & supporters in crowds. Watching, you do get a sense of how difficult it must have been for Thatcher as someone who always felt more comfortable with men, but at the same time was never part of the old boys club.

The film also does a good job of covering of many of the pressing challenges Thatcher faced as a female MP, including: work-family balance; the tendency for there to be an unfair focus on looks and appearance rather than the issues; the imposter complex which is a belief that one doesn’t have what it takes to get to the top; and of course sexist heckling and name calling during Question Period sessions. The film is set in the 1970/80s but all sound familiar to me!

But what was surprising, and glaringly absent from trailers, is that a great deal of the film focuses on Thatcher life in the present; long after her days as Britain’s Iron Lady. I won’t say much more, other than while watching I often found myself wondering what Margaret Thatcher herself (who is still alive) thought of the portrayal of her later years.

Iron Lady opens everywhere on Friday January 13th. Check it out!


Posted on by E. Cain in Feminism, Pop Culture 7 Comments

About the author

E. Cain

blogs from Ottawa, Ontario. She earned Master's of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor or Arts degree in Honours Political Science and Women's Studies from McGill University. She is passionate about electing more women to all levels of government and is very proud of her involvement with the McGill University Women in House Program, an award-winning, student-led, political job shadowing program designed to encourage female students to get more involved politically.

7 Responses to Iron Lady Review

  1. J-wow

    Wasn’t AT ALL like Iron Man… Thoroughly disappointed.

    • jarrahpenguin

      Lol. Very nice.

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  4. Elizabeth

    I’m curious if any thought/analysis has been given to the fact that the entire narrative is driven by her memories of her relationship with Denis. While I don’t agree with all of her politics, the fact remains, she was an innovative, female politician when such as she were few. It seems as though politics were what drove her, and framing her story through her relationship with her husband could be seen as a bit reductive.

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