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

Women and Hollywood By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood November 16, 2011 at 10:45AM

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. 
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Thatcher/Streep

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)

This article is related to: Meryl Streep, Phyllida Lloyd, Abi Morgan


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