Richard E. Grant
The movie itself, directed by Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia!) and written by Abi Morgan, is as standard as such a movie can come. It begins in 2008, a few years after Thatcher’s dear husband Denis’ (Jim Broadbent) death, and, in flashback, a dementia-ridden and unrecognizable Thatcher reflects on her life. The daughter of a grocery store owner, Thatcher went on to Oxford and found herself a place as a Member of Parliament, her blue dress standing out in a pond of black and gray suits.
The Iron Lady quickly covers the next decades of her life: her election to Prime Minister in 1979; the 1982 Falklands War; the Grand Hotel bombing that almost killed her and Denis; the miners’ strike of the mid-’80s; her forcing out of 10 Downey Street; and on and on. In between are forced speeches and lines about staying true to your stance and the necessity of strong leadership.
This is a highlight reel, and Lloyd and Morgan are not at all interested in giving dimension to the icon. Streep herself doesn’t seem to care, either. She may have been right in saying she had courage to play Thatcher, but she didn’t put enough work in to make the performance itself anything other than safe. Streep studied the voice and posture, but she is as good as that and the makeup, and nothing more.
Recreating the Young Margaret Thatcher (2:44): Alexandra Roach, who played the young Thatcher, is put under the spotlight.
Denis: The Man Behind the Woman (2:33) does the same for Jim Broadbent.
Battle of the House of Commons (2:28): This featurette looks at the scenes that took place at Parliament.
Costume Design: Pearls and Power Suits (2:43): Costume designer Consolata Boyle discusses her work on The Iron Lady.
History Goes to the Cinema (18:04): This featurette looks at the stories and eras that inspired My Week with Marilyn, W.E., Coriolanus, The Iron Lady, and The Artist.
Also included are a DVD and a Digital Copy.