Watch: Teaser For 'The Iron Lady' Suggests Meryl Streep Shouldn't Count On Another Oscar Just Yet

by Oliver Lyttelton
July 7, 2011 12:57 PM
42 Comments
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Way back in March, we predicted that the Academy Award race for Best Actress this year would come down to two stars both embodying icons in biopics: two-time nominee Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in "My Week With Marilyn" and sixteen-time nominee Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." This morning, The Guardian debuted the teaser trailer for the latter film, which follows the career of the much-feared, much-respected first female Prime Minister of the U.K. and frankly, we'd be surprised if Williams wasn't feeling a little more confident today.

Borrowing Clint Mansell's now-iconic "Welcome To Lunar Industries" from the "Moon" score, the clip is admittedly only a teaser, with actors Roger Allam and Nicholas Farrell playing Conservative Party bigwigs trying to give an unseen Thatcher an image makeover, building to a reveal of Streep in full hair and make-up. And frankly, it's all a little obvious, glib and more than a little silly: Streep seems to be channeling her character from "Lemony Snicket," with a sprinkling of Julia Child, rather than embodying the politician. The prosthetic teeth certainly aren't helping, and neither is the "La Vie En Rose"-cribbed shot at the end.

This isn't to say that Streep won't get nominated -- obviously, she's still a force to be reckoned with, and the clip only shows a tiny fraction of what she'll be offering. But we were concerned about the film already -- "Mamma Mia" helmer Phyllida Lloyd is directing, which is in no way a good thing -- and this hasn't helped at all. Still the supporting cast is decent, with Jim Broadbent, Alexandra Roach, Harry Lloyd, Olivia Colman, Anthony Head and Richard E. Grant also on board. The Weinstein Company will release "The Iron Lady" right at the height of awards season in the U.S. on December 16th, with a U.K. release following through Fox and Pathe on January 6th, 2012.

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More: Films, Actresses, The Iron Lady

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42 Comments

  • Oliver Lyttelton | July 8, 2011 9:32 AMReply

    Dear x

    I haven't been sidestepping substantive discussion, your idea of substantive discussion until now was name-calling. To your credit, you're being a little more constructive of late, so I'm happy to engage.

    I think the thing that puzzles me most is that you don't seem to understand what a film writer is. Yes, I discussed the trailer, because it's my job here. I wasn't nakedly, personally insulting to Streep, I suggested that the impression give by the very brief teaser trailer was that the performance was broader and more exaggerated than we've come to expect. And again, tempered that, in the interest of balance and logic, by saying "she’s still a force to be reckoned with, and the clip only shows a tiny fraction of what she’ll be offering." Cue a hurricane of shit from your lower-case loving self.

    And yes, I was a little scathing about Lloyd, because, in my opinion, "Mamma Mia" was not well-directed, particularly from a technical standpoint, the nuts and bolts of film direction. You wrote, based on the same five-second clip "it's a stunning performance. Great acting, very intelligent." These are called opinions. I didn't do anything outside the bounds of what any other film writer would do, based on the same material. I didn't say "This film will suck because Meryl Streep has a stupid face and Phyllida Lloyd should crawl into a hole and die," and that's not hidden away between the lines -- I do feel like you're reading more into the piece than was intended.

    You seem to be bizarrely reverential about what you call the 'pros.' Plenty's been written, by people far smarter than me, about the way the movie star is the modern equivalent of the gods, and you're perhaps the best real-life example I've seen of that. You constantly talk about being 'disrespectful,' but I'm doing the same as anyone who partakes in any kind of criticism has been doing for a century, and criticism is a concept you seem to have trouble in grasping. If I was a political blogger, I'd talk about politicians. If I was a sports writer, I'd talk about sportsmen. If I was a journalist who covered the media, should I only write nice things about Rupert Murdoch, because he's successful, and a professional? No. That would be ridiculous.

    What I don't get about hardcore fans -- of Streep, of the Grateful Dead, of Harry Potter, of anything -- is the unconditional love. There are actors, directors, writers, who, because of their track record, I like. But when Meryl Streep makes "Lions For Lambs," or Steven Soderbergh directs "Ocean's Thirteen," or The Strokes release "Angles," I don't count it as a personal insult, and I don't delude myself into thinking it's good work.

    Criticism is subjective; this is the mistake that many commenters make. Yes, there's a degree of arrogance to it, because in order to do... well, just about anything -- to write about film, to act, to direct, to paint, to play music, to cook -- you have to have a certain amount of arrogance (almost always mixed with lashings of insecurity), because otherwise you won't believe that what you're doing is worthwhile. But I'm not saying that you have to agree with me. Many of my favorite film writers, and this is in no way to draw comparisons, but people like Pauline Kael, J. Hoberman, David Thomson, are people I profoundly disagree with much of the time, but I'm secure enough in my views that I'm happy to read about others, to be provoked and challenged.

    And yes, in answer to your question, were I to meet someone I write about (which is not outside the realms of possibility, given the interview circuit, and actors have brought up stuff we've written about them at junkets in the past, and as far as I'm aware have never taken offense), then I would be happy to say the same thing. I'm in effect doing that by writing under my own name, rather than cowering behind a pseudonym like, oh, say 'x'. Because of this, I am accountable for everything I write, and I'm always aware of that before it gets put to paper.

    We have a certain tone here at The Playlist. You say it yourself in this thread: "cheeky." Irreverent, if you will. I try not to be mean-spirited, and if I am, it's against deserving targets. (http://theplaylist.blogspot.com/2010/07/watch-early-oscar-front-runner-vampires.html). As you've demonstrated that you're someone entirely devoid of a sense of humor, our site is clearly not for you. You're entirely within your rights to say "the post is written by oliver lyttelton which, frankly, gives rise for concern." I'm not insulted -- I'm not to your taste, and that's fine. But it does puzzle me as to why you continue to come back; I know I won't like Transformers 3, so I'm not going to go and see it. There are many personality-free movie websites that will be happy to have you, and you certainly won't be missed here.

    Hugs and Kisses,

    Oli

  • RC | July 8, 2011 8:05 AMReply

    ha ha. keep it up guys, this is the funniest thing I've read all day.

  • x | July 8, 2011 7:53 AMReply

    nik grape

    it's not over. wouldn't say that.

    lytttleton chose not to address anything i said in an objective way. instead, he fell back on cheap shots, obfuscation, irrelevancies, etc., as before. so, the discussion here, for now, i suppose has ended, yes.

    we'll have to carry on another time, i suppose.


    x

  • Nik Grape | July 8, 2011 3:29 AMReply

    Amazing. A little sad that it's over ... but that was amazing..

  • Edward Davis | July 8, 2011 3:06 AMReply

    PWned by admission. That's a wrap.

  • x | July 8, 2011 3:03 AMReply

    oli

    very well

    take care,
    x

  • Kevin Jagernauth | July 8, 2011 2:39 AMReply

    I can't tell when you're being serious.

  • x | July 8, 2011 2:37 AMReply

    and you guys take offense at being called sniveling pricks?

    why?

  • Kevin Jagernauth | July 8, 2011 2:28 AMReply

    i don’t think that’s the case. why don’t you quit reading us.

  • x | July 8, 2011 2:27 AMReply

    i see. so your response to complaints is 'i don't think that's the case. why don't you quit reading us'.

    got it. you're very clever. we see that.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | July 8, 2011 2:10 AMReply

    I don't think there is anything superficial about my sarcasm.

  • x | July 8, 2011 2:02 AMReply

    kevin jagernauth -- another the playlist blogger who got ripped for his lazy, angry slash and burn of the 'killer elite' trailer

    http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/watch_trailer_for_the_killer_elite_is_a_mashup_of_every_jason_statham_movie/

    the comments were fairly rough on you. people made it pretty clear they were sick of the superficial sarcasm. i believe it was J.J. who said, "I know the writers are trying to be clever and entertaining but…they’re failing miserably."

    couldn't agree more. your comment here, in response to the discussion, is what i've come to expect from indiewire/the playlist: cheeky, juvenile, lazy. it's even poor writing, which is pretty bad for one line.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | July 8, 2011 1:34 AMReply

    Hey x, if you don't like our blog, stop reading it. What are you, a sadist?

  • Sean | July 7, 2011 12:49 PMReply

    Bad use of music. And come on. A TEASER for a (most likely) boring political film? Really? That's like if they showed a minute of Colin Firth trying to say something into a the microphone in the King's Speech.
    Awful "trailer".

  • LA2000 | July 7, 2011 12:10 PMReply

    The whole point of a teaser is to articulate and define the audiences expectations for the film. On that score, the trailer fails.

    The music seems a bit dramatic, and then we get what seems to be a fake out reveal to Meryl Streep in a comedy. So it's a comedy? And then the last shot moves the whole thing back into drama territory. So frankly, I am more confused about what this film is than before I saw the trailer.

    When Meryl Streep flashed on screen, I didn't see Julia Child or her character from Lemony Snicket. I saw Faye Dunaway in "Mommie Dearest." The Thatcher ticks and mannerisms, while spot on accurate, seem just a tad heightened. Similarly, Dunaway got the Crawford ticks down pat, but then proceeded to bang on the keys just a little too hard. That "heightened" quality is what makes both films seem like comedy. That was clearly not the original intention of "Mommie Dearest" and the trailer leaves one wondering whether that is, in fact, the intended result for "The Iron Lady," or whether that was just what they were left with when all was said and done.

    They should pull the trailer immediately and give it another go. This one only muddies the waters.

  • Michael | July 7, 2011 12:06 PMReply

    Hey Playlist. I love your arrogant, passive-aggressive, smug, and highly offensive undertone. It's the reason I come here every day.

    I especially love the fact that it seems to wind up sycophantic, pantywaste little nimbys like Mr (Ms? Mrs) X into writing thousand word diatribes about not being "respectful" enough to people who get paid millions of dollars to play make believe. Because you know - these people are "pros."

    And for the record - I think for a movie about the most polarizing and divisive political leader in post war Britain that teaser trailer looks a bit glib and shallow...

    And the fact that the director's last film was an ABBA musical probably has something to do with that.

    By the way X, your computer has two shift keys that will help make your nonsense more readable, if not more hilarious.

  • x | July 7, 2011 11:16 AMReply

    (part 2, part 1 posted earlier)

    your remarks were very disrespectful. saying you have a lot of respect for streep after the fact doesn't change this. calling those that criticize you mentally imbalanced because they call you a sniveling prick doesn't change things. you and others at 'the playlist' regularly deride hollywood pros, although you may do it in an oh-so-sly manner. you need to come out and say, yes, that's what we do, or consider modifying your approach.

    if you want to deny you were arrogant, okay, but if someone said 'the post is written by oliver lyttelton which, frankly, gives rise for concern', would this not be a shot and nothing more than a shot? you criticize by implication. you don't say something like 'the director's past work has been clunky at best', you say it's 'cause for concern'. this is just plain arrogant.

    what if someone said 'lyttelton's piece at the playlist is, 'frankly, all a little obvious, glib and more than a little silly.' this doesn't come off a little holier-than-thou? what if they said that after reading only a couple sentences of your writing without even seeing the rest? is that not pompous?

    if you don't agree, then, okay, we have nothing to talk about. if you see my point i would be interested in hearing what you think.

    how about this. what if, after reading a few lines at the playlist (equal, say, to a few seconds of a movie) someone said: "frankly, we’d be surprised if moviesitexyz.com wasn’t feeling a little more confident today."

    that's what gets me. your comments are based on a few seconds of performance. just a few seconds. and, based on that you're willing to trash this movie, a movie star, and a director. but you don't have the balls to come out and say it directly. you're hide behind innuendo.

    if you had said: "streep's acting in this trailer is pure crap and lloyd couldn't direct her way out of a paper bag" you'd be in a shitstorm right now.

    with the use of just the right tone you're able to imply any damn thing you want, and then call people that have a problem with it wacko because, hey, what exactly did you say wrong. 'can you cut/paste the exact phrase that concerns you?' no. it's between the lines, where your content hides and resides.

    so, let's get past me calling you a sniveling prick (which i completely stand by) and answer the criticism. would there not be a more objective and direct way of criticizing the trailer for 'the iron lady'? a way that doesn't use pompous turns of phrase like 'frankly, we're concerned' and '(frankly), we'd be surprised if (the other actor) wasn’t feeling a little more confident today'? turns of phrase that imply you have some role as an overseer, or some lofty authority. a way of criticizing that is direct and plain. would it not be preferable? would a less snide approach not be more palatable?

    are you really going to stand there and tell us these weren't cheap underhanded shots? are you really going to suggest there isn't an arrogant undertone, that what is between the lines is passive-aggressive, smug, and highly offensive? are you calling us that dumb to our faces?

    and, what if you met streep? could you face her after taking such a tone? i think you'd crumble. i think she'd stare you down and you'd have nothing to show for yourself. am i wrong?

    would it not be better for everyone involved if your writing was more direct and you avoided pomposity of tone and not-that-clever subtext?

    as for my name calling... you're actually willing to openly and publicly mock the work of a director and actor on a site that gets what, millions of hits a month, based on a few seconds of footage (which most bloggers are very impressed by), but you can't take being called a prick in the comments section? really? that's you?

    i'm asking you directly. can you answer? can you do that? can you address my points despite what i've called you? can you be objective, or is suggesting i need counseling and meds the only thing you've got?


    tell me, us, whether you think i have a point or not.

  • x | July 7, 2011 11:14 AMReply

    oliver

    you don't stop, do you. now i'm on meds...

    the playlist is establishing a track record of dissing movie stars. you do it openly, without regard for how talented these people are, and how hard they've worked, and you do it from behind the safety of a computer. (you could never say such things to their faces, however, if you could, i stand corrected). i don't think there is another part of the indiewire family that is this brash.

    and i'm not the first to comment. others have shot down bloggers at 'the playlist' for sarcastic, almost irrelevant anger-laced posts that trash movie stars. i believe this happens almost everyday, or if not, certainly every week.

    now that you're part of indiewire, a site that i have come to respect over the years, your tone is more offensive than it was before simply due to the fact that indiewire is a mainstream site and reaches far more people than the playlist used to. a guy with a blog can say anything, but a big site like indiewire can't just say anything without taking responsibility for it as they are read by a lot of people.

    if indiewire is going to promote this kind of arrogance directed at movie stars and directors, fine. that's their/your prerogative. it's status quo for the internet anyway -- that's the level of 'professionalism/journalism' we've come to expect. if that's the case then continue to fire 'this guy is mentally imbalanced' cheap shots and sidestep substantive discussion. if that's your m.o., so be it.

    otherwise, do you think what you said about streep and director phyllida lloyd went unnoticed by your readers because you say it through implication and tone rather than directly and literally? you think your readership is that dumb?

    (due to word count limits, this is where i'm splitting the post)

  • Michael | July 7, 2011 10:52 AMReply

    I've noticed that on the playlist comments section there seems to be a lot of this kind of thing - epitomized by mr X:

    "who the fuck are you? what have you ever done, what work have you ever produced, that gives you the right to discuss actors that work their entire careers (out in the world) to produce great movies? what are you besides an angry hack writer?"

    To all you uptight little balls of righteousness out there.... Its a movie blog. Thats what this whole thing is about; people talking about movies, with opinion and comment thrown in too boot. Since when do you have to earn the right to have an opinion on a movie or a performance for god sake. This isn't North Korea, its the internet.

    If you don't agree with something, then post your opinion in the comments but play the ball not the man (or woman). If you can't do that then maybe take your aggro to one of the million other blogs out there that are "respectful" (boring).

    Basically: In the words of Lloyd Dobbler: YOU MUST CHILL!

  • Marrrk | July 7, 2011 6:38 AMReply

    does anyone see the irony in criticizing the Playlist for having a negative impression from a teaser by countering with a positive impression from a teaser?

  • Moon | July 7, 2011 6:23 AMReply

    It's just a piece of article. I can't understand why people going beyond crazy calling the writer names, I feel for the writer. perhaps there are too many Streep's die hard fans that can't accept rejections or what?

  • Oliver Lyttelton | July 7, 2011 6:15 AMReply

    x

    I don't call you mentally unbalanced because I'm insecure; I deal with my insecurities by doing a gram of cocaine and then crying myself to sleep.

    I call you mentally unbalanced because I wrote a piece where I questioned the (very brief) performance we got to see in a teaser trailer, from an actress I respect enormously, as anyone with a brain does, and then following it, in the very next paragraph, "This isn’t to say that Streep won’t get nominated—obviously, she’s still a force to be reckoned with, and the clip only shows a tiny fraction of what she’ll be offering."

    And you responded with:
    "dipshit"
    "another smug, idiotic post"
    "you sniveling little prick"
    "you're a couch potato"
    "you guys are asswipes"
    "who the fuck are you"
    "what are you besides an angry hack writer?"
    "fucking pack of dweebs"
    "go fuck yourselves"

    Do you see why your disproportionate response makes me think you might be off your meds?

  • x | July 7, 2011 6:01 AMReply

    oliver

    from the tone of your review of the trailer would not have thought you would bother reading what people have to say. however, am not surprised by your response -- smug and self-important -- we've seen that before.

    there's a clear indication, if you must resort to calling me 'mentally imbalanced', how insecure and small you really are.

    go fuck yourself, or, as an alternative, go learn to write something other than sarcastic disrespectful catch phrases about people you know you'll never meet

  • Oliver Lyttelton | July 7, 2011 5:49 AMReply

    Wow. Going by 'x,' It turns out that hardcore Meryl Streep fans have a potty-mouth on them. Who knew?

    Also, they seem to be mentally unbalanced.

  • moon | July 7, 2011 5:42 AMReply

    @X

    Please calm yourself down, will you? It's just one tiny opinion you don't have to go harassing the writer. It's a freedom of speech country remember?

    By the way, Williams won't stand a chance with 99percent Streep's fans.

  • x | July 7, 2011 5:33 AMReply

    'the playlist' pretty much sucks.

    a while back some dipshit ripped the trailer for 'killer elite' and got reamed in the comments. now, another dipshit (or is it the same one) is getting the same for another idiotic smug post.

    streep's characterization in this clip is subtle and layered. she hits several beats between 'non-negotiable' and 'strike'. you can't see that? it's a stunning performance. great acting, very intelligent.

    "...frankly, we’d be surprised if Williams wasn’t feeling a little more confident." wow -- how pompous and self-important can you get. like you wouldn't piss your pants if you ever even met meryl streep. you'd be fucking tongue-tied. you couldn't even look her in the eyes you sniveling little prick. not, that you'd ever stand a chance of meeting her -- that's for journalists -- you're a couch potato that surfs the web all day and props yourself up with asinine comments posted on your lame website.

    you guys are asswipes.

    what the hell are you doing on indiewire?

    who the fuck are you? what have you ever done, what work have you ever produced, that gives you the right to discuss actors that work their entire careers (out in the world) to produce great movies? what are you besides an angry hack writer?

    fucking pack of dweebs. 'the playlist' is a joke. go fuck yourselves.

  • Luisa | July 7, 2011 4:20 AMReply

    lol @ stealth.

    Yes, Weinstein is backing Michelle Williams, as opposed to Meryl, whose movie is being released by... which company?
    Don't know why I even bothered with someone who called the person who swept critics awards last year and who has been mentioned as the best actress of her generation by several critics a "terrible actress".

    Who are you, really. Get over yourself.

  • Nik Grape | July 7, 2011 4:00 AMReply

    She's still going to be nominated because she's still the best actress working today and practically every role she plays she gets immersed in it and plays it brilliantly.

    Didn't see any Julia Childs in those two seconds at all and the whole teaser was obviously going for comedic effect more than anything. Sounds to me like she nailed Thatcher's mannerisms if anything.

    Glenn Close will be her biggest competition I bet.

  • Chase | July 7, 2011 3:52 AMReply

    Yes, let's judge an entire performance from 5 seconds. Because that clearly reflects the remaining 2 hours of her performance....

  • Edward Davis | July 7, 2011 3:51 AMReply

    I'm going to reserve judgement for 2013 when i've already had the DVD and seen it 4-5 times.

  • june | July 7, 2011 3:49 AMReply

    I’m going to reserve judgment until I see the full film.

  • stealth | July 7, 2011 3:45 AMReply

    Who are you people? LOL, do you know the person Meryl is playing? Clearly not. Meryl has her down. This woman is a force. Get ready to eat your words.

    The big joke is Michelle Williams. She is a terrible actress that Harvey is promoting, which no one in the industry understands. Her nomination for BLUE VALENTINE was a bigger joke. Ryan was clearly the better actor..

    Is Harvey paying you under the table? LOL. Morons writing blogs.

  • Amy O'Connor | July 7, 2011 3:14 AMReply

    Don't know how one can judge Streep's entire performance on the basis of the delivery of two lines from a scene which is clearly intended to be borderline comedic. Anyway, there's not a doubt in my mind that Streep will end up being nominated, especially with the force that is Harvey Weinstein backing her.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | July 7, 2011 3:03 AMReply

    Having seen MMMM, I don't think Olsen will get a nod. She's really good in it, but the film (I found) to be a bit lacking. It won't be the kind of film that sweeps away critics.

  • John | July 7, 2011 3:02 AMReply

    The only frontrunner who's performance has been widely seen in Elizabeth Olsen for Martha May Marcy Marlene. Others likely to be in contention in addition to Streep are Glenn Close, Keira Knightley, and if she pulls it off Rooney Mara.

  • moon | July 7, 2011 1:52 AMReply

    I heard Williams's Marliynn was even worse from test screening. I won't be surprise if either of this 2 chicks lost to someone unexpected.

  • Pat | July 7, 2011 1:29 AMReply

    I agree with Shaun.

    -->This whole "build' em up, tear 'em down" thing with the Oscars really needs to stop.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | July 7, 2011 1:25 AMReply

    I agree, that music selection is bizarre.

  • Edward Davis | July 7, 2011 1:22 AMReply

    What sense does that music make? Weird they used the moon score.

  • Shaun | July 7, 2011 1:21 AMReply

    Michelle williams's PR company paid you to bad mouth Streep? How could one judge a performance just by watching a five second performance ? #biasedhater?

  • amanda | July 7, 2011 1:19 AMReply

    I'm going to reserve judgement until I see a full trailer, but this teaser was just terrible.

  • CC | July 7, 2011 1:14 AMReply

    So, it's a comedy?

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