Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Meryl Streep: Political Biopic of an "Old Lady" Will be a Hard Sell at the Box Office

Reviews
by Melissa Silverstein
November 16, 2011 10:45 AM
2 Comments
  • |

Evening Standard writer Liz Hoggard reports about a dinner she was invited to at the home of The Iron Lady director Phyllida Lloyd to talk about film with several other female writers along with Meryl Streep and screenwriter, Abi Morgan. 

Clearly the powers that be know they have to get women (many who don't agree with Thatcher) to want to see the movie so they are doing everything they can to build buzz.  There's no one who can sell the film as well as Streep who is so respected and cares deepply about women's issues.  It's smart to begin the conversation in England where people have a very different relationship to Thatcher.  It will be an even bigger challenge here in the US to get people to see the film since we don't have as deep of a connection (like or hate) to her.  Still, I can't wait for her to get to the US to start talking about the film.

Streep talks about why she wanted to make this film:

What drew Streep to the script was her own dislike of Thatcher. "I wasn't a fan. In America she was this woman who hung out with Reagan and we didn't like her policies and it was easy to dismiss her because our iconic political women were figures like Jacqueline Kennedy. In contrast she seemed dowdy - and we judge female politicians in a different way than we do men," she apologises. "I was guilty of that." Making the film gave her a chance to challenge her own prejudices.

Again the response from Hoggard is more to Meryl's performance rather than the film as a whole. 

Here are some of Hoggard's thoughts:

But could the film alter my own less-than-rosy views of Maggie Thatcher, milk-snatcher? In many ways The Iron Lady is a feminist re-evaluation of Thatcher's life - and the price she paid for power. It is hard to remain unmoved at the sheer scale of the challenges she overcame to reach the highest office in the land.

I found myself secretly applauding when Maggie bemoans an X Factor world where people are more interested in "being" than "doing". Where they elevate feelings above "thoughts and ideas". Morgan wonders how long Thatcher would have survived in the media-­sophisticated Twitter age. The real danger for Lefties is that Streep's performance is so touching. While she is on screen, hostility is suspended. Rather than the political monster of my teenage years, Streep portrays an everywoman battling loss. In one scene, which actually made me cry, she is terrified by the reappearance of Denis's ghost and switches on every electrical appliance in the house sobbing: "I will not go mad."

And this breaks the greatest taboo of all, the one the party faithful can't bear to accept about their heroine. We all get ill, uncertain, grow old. For all that the keepers of Thatcher's flame love to wheel her out for public occasions (remember those pictures of her at Liam Fox's birthday), they can't forgive her for being human. This film does.

The more the info trickles out about the film, the more excited I get.

The ladies are for turning: how Maggie seduced Meryl - and reduced me to tears (The Evening Standard)

Reviews
  • |

More: Meryl Streep, Phyllida Lloyd, Abi Morgan

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

2 Comments

  • lara | November 16, 2011 4:54 PMReply

    treating the audiences like we're dumb little children a bit and being rather short-sighted with power of storytelling and peoples love of that alone. maybe we will go see the film because it looks like an interesting story. not because we know her, remember her, love her or hate her as a real person.

  • Patricia | November 16, 2011 4:19 PMReply

    Sounds interesting. The same criticism was made of "J. Edgar"---that no one would be interested in seeing a movie about him, his era and his destructive ways. It's doing fairly well at the box office, though.

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Half of Sarajevo Film Fest Doc Contenders ...
  • Amma Asante Inspires Women Filmmakers ...
  • New York's Women’s Project Theater Hires ...
  • 17% of Venice Film Fest's Main Lineup ...
  • Trailer Watch: Dear White People Tackles ...
  • You're the Worst: Misanthropes In L ...
  • Amanda de Cadenet on Becoming the Newest ...
  • Trailer Watch: Fifty Shades of Grey ...
  • Terry Press Takes Over As Sole Head ...
  • Chicken and Egg Launches New Fund for ...