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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Iron Lady


Starring: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Anthony Head, Richard E Grant and Olivia Colman
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 30 April 2012

Painting an intimate portrait of Great Britain's first female Prime Minister, The Iron Lady takes audiences on the fascinating journey of the young grocer's daughter from Grantham, desperate to change the barriers of gender and class, charting her rise to power and the price that she ultimately paid. The film reveals a surprising and intimate portrait of an extraordinary and complex woman, with scenes from the 1960's to the present day, including flashbacks of her younger years. Interwoven into the heart of the film and bringing light relief is her loving relationship with Denis...

The Iron Lady is a work of fiction, not a serious political biography of Great Britain's first female prime minister, so straight away you have to be prepared to go with the movie and enjoy the ride. The film starts off in the present day and flashes back to important parts of Margaret Thatcher's (Meryl Streep) life. Holding everything together, and acting as the film's heart and soul, is the love story between Margaret and Denis (Jim Broadbent). Denis is, it would seem, still hanging around Margaret offering her advice, encouragement, the odd joke, and occasionally being annoying.

Things in Margaret's every day life remind her of past events and we are transported back there to see things through her eyes. As I mentioned before, this is a work of fiction, and as such the characters and situations she revisits are seen through her eyes - as she remembers them.

The film lives or dies by Meryl Streep's portrayal. And it's impressive to note that you very soon forget that this isn't Margaret Thatcher on screen. Streep's Oscar (and numerous other awards) was well deserved.

Extras are of the short and sweet variety - there's nothing here of any real substance and it's a crying shame there was no audio commentary. From Script to Screen (11 min, 18 sec looks at getting the movie made); Downing Street (2 min, 17 sec looks at the scene in which Margaret makes her speech before entering 10 Downing Street for the first time as Prime Minister); House of Commons (2 min, 23 sec looks at the set for the House of Commons); Love Denis (2 min, 40 sec looks at Broadbent as Denis and the Margaret/Denis relationship); Colours, Costume and Character (2 min, 37 sec looks at the importance of the use of colour for Margaret's costume throughout the film); Young Margaret (2 min, 40 sec look at the actress and actor who portray young Margaret and Denis); Creating Margaret Thatcher (2 min, 01 sec looks at the make up used in the movie); Meet the Politicians (4 min, 26 sec looks at some of the actors, who played important politicians from the time, thoughts on their roles); John Campbell on Thatcher (9 min, 05 sec interview with the political biographer of Margaret Thatcher: The Iron Lady); Teaser Trailer (1 min, 02 sec); and Theatrical Trailer (2 min, 30 sec).

Obviously a lot of people still hold a grudge against Margaret Thatcher - for stopping them working at the coal face or snatching milk from their young hands - but this movie doesn't attempt to cast her in any light other than as a normal human being who just happened to be Prime Minister. Take away the political side of the story and what you have is the tale of a powerful individual who is now at the end of her life, remembering her past as she sees fit. It's a surprisingly touching movie, regardless of your political leanings.


Darren Rea

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