Meryl Streep’s latest Oscar bid, sorry, Biopic, The Iron Lady arrived in U.K. cinema’s last Friday. Although I have yet to see this film I still, as many will in the U.K., have a strong opinion about this subject.
I was born just eight months before Margret Thatcher, “The Grocer’s Daughter”, “The Iron Lady” came to power in 1979. My family was neither rich nor poor but the impact on us all throughout this era of Thatcherism was profound and though my father was not a Miner, a rail worker or a poll tax protester, he and my mother suffered financially throughout the 1980’s.
It wasn’t ALL her fault, nor entirely her government but she certainly polarised opinion in this small country and you literally love or hate her. She is accused or raping the industries of this country, privatising the national Utilities, destroying the Mining industry and creating the boom and bust greed of the Yuppy era.
Even now, the mention of her name in many quarters is likely to start an argument even 20 years after her ousting, she is still so reviled. But I presume that many people feel somewhat different, certainly in the upper class heartlands which she served so well. Some were with her from the beginning, some look back with favourable hindsight and many are just too young to see past the revisionist history offered up by the establishment.
Thatcher’s strengths are just that. She was strong-willed and had a series of ethos’ that made her a great leader. Her loyalty to Great Britain was undoubted and proven by her Falkland campaign, and her attitudes to I.R.A. but it takes more than nationalist foreign policies to make a great leader. For over a decade she made the rich richer and poor poorer and though this has happened under many governments, Thatcher did this so very well at teh expense of others, destroying many communities in the process.
So, when all is said and done, I can understand why the Oscar hungry Meryl Streep would covet this part. I’m sure that the details of her domestic policies haven’t travelled across the Atlantic as clearly as her Special Relationship with Ronald Reagan, or her victory over the Argentinians. In the same way that we know very little of the U.S.A’s domestic problems.
But this is the truth as perceived by many people in Great Britain and besides all this I would love to see a film about her, a fair and even-handed account of her rise to power, and use or abuse of such power and her eventual downfall. I don’t want to see a hatchet job, but lets face it, there’s very little chance of that!
But as the reviews trickle in, it appears that we’re going to get a film focusing on her characters, of sorts and smudging over the more controversial topics. Whether this is true, I will have to find out when I see the film but I doubt that this is the film that I was hoping for and will in fact be the film that I was expecting.
An establishment propaganda film, maintaining the myth of the strong and sometime unpopular leader, but magnificent woman in a man’s world as a vehicle to place good ole’ Meryl Streep on the Academy’s nominations list.
I hope against hope that I’m pleasantly surprised…