Iron Lady – the individual, not society.

In a way, the movie about Margaret Thatcher’s life takes up one facet of her political stance and bases the whole plot of the movie on this one aspect: the role, the power of the individual. Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, is depicted as the daughter of a politically ambitious and conservative father who runs a grocery store. But what else is there, of the stuff that society is made of? We get one or two scenes hinting at the fact that there was a war sometime when she was younger. But what else, other than Margaret Thatcher, or should I rather say Meryl Streep? What do we see about society and its role in Margaret Streeps life? Not much. The one thing that the movie makes clear is that politics (and the upper strata of the economy) are male and that it takes more than a little courage to enter this male, upper class world as the daughter of a grocer. (Ignorance, for example, is helpful.) What we see is a single individual who works her way through resistances and over obstacles. Not one of many women. A strong individual moving towards her goal, ignoring everything around her.

This is nothing new, and we would have expected little else from Meryl Thatcher. But the main problem for me was, that this everything around her remains on the periphery. The miners’ protests, her family, the changing world at large – they all remain in the background, glance off, seemingly unimportant. The sole exception is: a ghost. The ghost of her husband, who keeps haunting the ageing Stratcher, offering charming glimpses at a life that has just passed by.

In a way, as I wrote above, the movie is consistent. It focuses on a person, only showing the world as this particular person might have seen it. I guess this is legitimate, as MT is indeed special. But. In a case where the hero is anti-social and has had a huge impact on the lives of millions of people, I find it relevant to also show this impact, show how it is ignored, where all the filters are set up that such people use to phase out these parts of reality from their view on the world. (Well, we do get a small glimpse on this when the Falklands War comes up – but again only from her limited perspective.)

Other than that, I have to make a disclaimer and tell you that I am not a huge fan of Meryl Streep. This added to my discomfort, as I also saw the movie as building on the star cult around Streep, with a cinematography that too often focused on the great actress, with long shots of her face, putting her in a position to get just another Oscar, or at least the zillionth nomination for an Academy Award – which can then be used in the further marketing of this movie.
IMDb entry | Trailer

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