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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

THE IRON LADY

By D.E.Levine

Meryl Streep does an amazing job of turning herself into Margaret Thatcher, the first and only female prime minister of The United Kingdom, earned herself the name of "The Iron Lady."

With strong convictions regarding balancing the budget, international relations and a variety of other areas, Thatcher took her country from a depressed economy to a flourishing one, survived IRA terrorist bombings and successfully fought to retain control of the Falkland Islands, but not without controversy and dissension.

This film presents an intimate portrait of Thatcher, showing how despite a loving, patient and supportive husband Denis Thatcher (Jim Broadbent) her marriage suffered because of her dedication to her political career.

For those who are old enough to remember Mrs. Thatcher or who watch the numerous news clips available, it is uncanny at how Streep has managed to transform herself into the character. It's more than the excellent makeup provided. Streep has captured the walk, the nuances of Thatcher's voice, the tilt of her head and all the small familiar actions that made her distinctive.

The Iron Lady seems almost like a documentary at times as it shows very clearly the making of a "winner". Her political advisers taught Thatcher how to dress, how to color and cut her hair, how to modulate and use her shrill voice - in short, they taught her how to present herself. Remember, some of the most successful leaders like Presidents Reagan and Kennedy had acting experience and/or lessons. Even Hitler studied with an acting teacher before he turned his unacceptable speeches into mesmerizing oration.

Thatcher had the brains and the gumption to lead the country. Her advisers and counselors groomed Margaret Thatcher to be a presentable candidate and in doing so they created her image. But, she created her leadership style, which was strong and stubborn and would eventually lead to her resignation. However, she served for 12 years before being forced out.

The sad part is that we're shown her decline in later years when her husband dies and she continues to converse with him, and when Alzheimer sets in robbing her of her memory and her freedom.

Streep's portrayal can only be classified as amazing and may cause various organizations to take notice of this role as one more exceptional than those in her past and deserving of awards.