Big surprise, Meryl Streep delivers another of her spot on performances as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Seriously, by this point audiences know Streep will bring it. Unfortunately, The Iron Lady does not even come close to equaling the level of her work.

The structure of the film is disjointed and just plain annoying. The story jumps back and forth between the present day Thatcher who suffers from dementia and snippets of her as a young woman on the rise and as the first female Prime Minister of England. Thatcher’s condition was brought on by a series of strokes, a fact that I had to look up because the filmmakers assume we know all the details of Thatcher’s life. As a result, the audience gets only a surface look at this fascinating political and historical figure. The constant switching back and forth means that as soon as we get caught up in and invested in what’s going on, the timeline switches to the modern day Thatcher who roams around her house speaking to her dead husband.

We are treated to speeches by Thatcher but are never given a true inner look at Thatcher’s reasoning for her policies. Instead, there are sound bites of the Prime Minister railing against unions followed by footage of workers protesting and rioting. The strong willed Thatcher is an admirable figure regardless of whether one agrees with her policies. Through strength of conviction, intelligence and perseverance she fought her way into the male dominated political power structure of a leading Western nation; A truly remarkable achievement when you consider her modest background as a grocer’s daughter.

It’s up to Streep to carry the film and she manages to transcend the fractured storytelling to provide a level of insight and understanding into Thatcher the human being and the politician. In a scene immediately following the depiction of Thatcher’s humiliation of her Deputy Prime Minister, Geoffrey Howe Streep conveys the Prime Minister’s realization of what she’s done, as well as her shame, regret, and resignation without uttering a word. If only The Iron Lady were as extraordinary as Thatcher and Streep.

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