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"I like to watch."


Posted - 20/12/2011 :  03:08:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The Margaret Thatcher pic rocks on for about :70 or so, lies down for a weak third act, then re-emerges for a terrific final shot.

After seeing J. EDGAR, you might think they can't do effective age makeup. IRON LADY proves you wrong. We had to stare for about :05 at the top of the pic to establish that it wasn't somebody else doing "old Margaret". Fabulous prosthetics, including dentals that slightly camouflage Meryl Streep's familiar closeup while letting her eyes shine through even in younger scenes, are stunning, just stunning, in the depictions of Thatcher's latter years.

Streep is spectacular as Thatcher deep in dementia, imagining Jim Broadbent as the long-dead Dennis, but no less so as the vital "Iron Lady" of Russian parlance, jacking around MPs and world leaders and taking back the frickin Falklands with big guns. Left to the Wikipedian curious is her actual lasting effect on the British economy and the world stage.

The word "conservative" means something quite different in Britain than in the US, even did way back in 1979, but there is too much cheap, easy comparison to the American politico-cultural wars of the present day, especially coming from the PM's chief tormentor in Parliament, who is made to look like a raving lunatic.

I liked Thatcher's spunk, but didn't like her politics any more than I did her boyfriend Reagan's. This movie makes no attempt to work all that out. It would be OK as a nice personal study of a woman who picked herself up by her own bootstraps, but this is *Margaret frickin Thatcher* after all, and historically the audience is basically given no help; we talked to a 21-year-old after tonight's FSLC screening, and he had no idea who she was. *After* the screening, mind you.

But La Streep is way beyond, another Oscar nom is safely in her pocket. See it for her, not for the character she plays.

Edited by - randall on 20/12/2011 03:10:08

"teil mann, teil maschine"


Posted - 23/12/2011 :  13:35:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
" Not suitable for Miners " ?
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"Always entranced by cinema."

Posted - 19/02/2012 :  14:26:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Streep's worth her own discussion, which will come at the end of this contribution.

The film itself pretends to be something it can never be. Yes, there have been numerous accounts of what Thatcher was like to work with, and what kind of mum she was, by a hard-done-by daughter [not quite Mommie Dearest, but still].

Also, for several years, British telly has told and retold MT biopics all supposedly casting new light on why she was what she was. It's not any actor's fault that they all come over as terrif in the make-up and hair department but are painfully deficient with scripting.

This film version - produced and exec produced by a bevy including some ruthlessly ambitious t.v. execs - promises raw meat, but serves up nicely cooked sausages. Cynical me, I suspect the odor from their kitchen is wafting in the direction of future honors.

While Tory politicians [those well known film critics] carp and rail against the sheer cheek of presenting their icon in her current demented state, they fail to notice how lightly history has been skimmed.

The film just canters through a backlog of news reports, and the poor actors are forced to fall back on impersonation rather than performance. Because the plodding script sure doesn't give them anything resembling characterization.

That they're all so good at it is testament to their talent.

Apart from Streep, the two given most screen time are Jim Broadbent as
elder hubby Dennis, and the equally wonderful Olivia Coleman as the above mentioned daughter. Both create the presence that reveals more than words can say.

As for the lady herself, we learn nothing. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Well, nothing that the Tory press didn't shove down our throats every day of her incumbency.

There were plenty of opportunities for some real drama - the strength of the opposition, both political and popular, is never really dealt with. No wonder the Americans I knew back then were convinced that everyone loved her and approved the policies of her government.

It would matter not a jot to me whether or not I personally agreed with those policies in assessing the film. I wish it had been truthful in a profound sense instead of a cinematic refuge of safety told in such a pedestrian way.

And yes, Streep deserves her own paragraph. What is so remarkable about her, here as elsewhere, is not that she's such a good mimic. That's a facility more than an art. But she knows how to inhabit. Not that silly term "channel" - it's not a mystic process. It's one that understands how to create the illusion of reality -- you'd believe her even in her rehearsal clothes with no make-up at all. Despite the flimsy script, what Streep accomplishes is a portrayal of an emotional journey. She makes us understand that Thatcher can't recognize her political naivety, she continually mistakes the best way to bind her team - treating them as naughty children and not colleagues worthy of respect. Yes, all that was mentioned at the time, but Streep guides us through the process without outside judgement.

Even Hitler didn't think he was the bad guy, and any actor playing a flawed character must never provide an inner commentary of condemnation.

So, yes, yes, yes - Streep's stunning and has combined the screen charisma of a true movie star with the truth and generosity of a fine actress.

[But I still think Viola Davis deserved the Bafta!]

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