I’m surprised that women have not questioned the substance of the film, The Iron Lady. All we’ve done is gush and goo over how well Meryl Streep plays an old woman with Alzheimers, how good the make-up is and how much Meryl Streep looks and acts like Margaret Thatcher. Yes, ladies, Margaret Thatcher, one of the most prominent ‘one of us’ in the 20th Century.
The Margaret Thatcher I knew was a gutsy lady who took on one of the biggest and surely the oldest ‘old boys’ clubs, the British Parliament, to become the first female Prime Minister and then serve in that post for over eleven years. She never backed down to the IRA who tried to assasinate her or even on the Falkland Islands whom many thought were hardly worth the effort. She was a good friend of Ronald Reagan and the USA during the Cold War, and earned the title, The Iron Lady, because of her fortitude and uncompromising attitude.
But that woman isn’t in this film. In her rare flashes of lucidity, she seems to question her earlier decisions–the IRA, the Falklands–is she really doing that? How do they know? Makes you wonder if IRA sympathizers wrote this, thinking they can get even because now she’s old and sick and can’t fight back . . . .
On top of all this, her dead husband is walking around reminding her that she was an MIA wife and mother, and her son won’t talk to her and her daughter is angry. I’m angry too, we should all be angry that women are judged, even now, in the 21st century because we didn’t stay home with the kids.
I’m concerned too. I’m concerned that no one has tried to set the record straight. That the film has not caused an unprecedented amount of writing about the real Margaret Thatcher. Perhaps we should be mindful of Thatcher’s own words . . . .
In February 2007, when she was already ill, she was honoured with a statue in the Houses of Parliament. In a brief speech she said, “I might have preferred iron – but bronze will do … It won’t rust.”