You know awards season is near when studios open important movies featuring important stars in December — much like The Iron Lady, Meryl Streep's film about the life and times of Margaret Thatcher, which opens on December 30.
While I'm sure Streep is good here (she's always good), I just don't find The Iron Lady all that compelling. Yes, Streep does a nice Margaret Thatcher, but I think she looks like Meryl Streep doing Faye Dunaway doing Margaret Thatcher…which, now that I think about it, makes it a tad more compelling.
Perhaps I'm not intrigued because I'm not a political junkie or because I was already an adult during the events covered in the film. I wasn't interested then and I'm not interested now. The last thing I want to see is a movie that takes a British Prime Minister's life and condenses it down to the standard pat dramatic biopic beats (she isn't respected; she fights for respect but ignores her family; she feels guilty about ignoring her family, but she perseveres; she rises to greatness).
There wasn't a huge amount of drama in Thatcher's political life. She was a strict conservative who didn't like unions — be it trade or Soviet. The filmmakers seem to understand that Thatcher might be a tough sell, so they push hard on the "woman in man's world" angle, which is totally valid. She was a groundbreaking figure in this regard.
But other than that, the defining dramatic moment of Thatcher's premiership was the Falkland Islands war, which was something of a joke back in 1982. It'll be interesting to see how that skirmish is presented here, but we all know the real draw of The Iron Lady is Streep.
It's a little early to be making Oscar guesses, but it's almost certain Streep will be in the running for Best Actress next year. How can she not be; she's an important star with an important movie opening in December.