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Am I turning into an iron-lady?

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What happened to my heart?

Did I lose it to The Muppets, putting a stone in the place where it used to be? Or maybe it was The Artist that stole it to a different era, refusing to return it until I’ve plowed through some more silent films.

Something must have happened, or how can you else explain that I didn’t tear up a single time when I watched The Iron Lady the other night?

“Look at her!” “She’s OLD and LONELY and bordering to senile!” “Her son doesn’t want to see her!” “She sacrificed her family for the career and but in the end, when you lift away all the pearls and hats, we’re all humans!” “Come on Jessica!” “Connect to her! Feel the fear of your own aging!” “What will become of you one day?” “Will you end up miserable like her?”

I tried and I tried and I tried. Fiffi, my Swedish blogging sister in arms, had given the movie five glowing stars after crying her way all the way through it. Somehow this portray of the person Margaret Thatcher spoke to her.

But for all my efforts I couldn’t hear whatever it tried to say to me. I wasn’t touched and I kept nagging myself about it. “What was WRONG with me? Didn’t I see what a fantastic performance Meryl Streep did? Make-up and costume can only take you so far. She was jaw-dropping good at impersonating Thatcher, wasn’t she?”

I don’t know how to explain my lack of compassion for the old lady. Perhaps I’m a bit of an iron lady myself.

Not a documentary
Most of the complaints I’ve seen have been about how little it goes into the politics. The demonstrations, the criticism against her, the hard times many people had in Britain during her regime, are only briefly hinted in some uncommented footage that pass by every so quickly. You never really get to understand the politician Thatcher.

But while I can understand why you might think so, I don’t agree.

This is a movie, not a documentary. There are so many different aspects to the life of person like this and you need to pick an angle and stick to it. They chose a different perspective, a more personal one, and that’s fine. It’s an aspect that is or could be as interesting as a movie about the politician.

My problem however is that it’s so half hearted. I wanted someone to stick their fingers into the wounds where they hurt and start poking around until you can FEEL the pain.

As far as I can tell, this baroness leads a perfectly good life, with a daughter and servants to who take care of her. She’s far from forgotten, getting invitations to all sorts of arrangements, spending her days writing autographs in her memoirs when she’s not small talking with the ghost or memory of her diseased husband. What is the problem, really? Am I supposed to be shocked at the sight of the ex prime minister buying milk in a shop?

Not close enough
The least you’d expect from a picture that is supposed to be personal is that it is that very thing: personal. This movie doesn’t get close enough. It’s not black enough. It’s not naked enough. It’s not daring enough.

Thatcher remains someone I watch from the distance, the person on the photos, barely more alive than the wax figure at Madame Tussauds.  And who can blame the film makers? I wouldn’t go as far as to say that there’s censorship at play, but maybe they put some sub-conscious restraints on themselves? It must be hard to make a bio-pic of someone who is still alive.

I’m sorry Fiffi, but I thought The Iron Lady was quite unremarkable. Not even Meryl Streep’s magnificent acting could save it.

And now I need to go out looking for my heart. I know it’s somewhere.

The Iron Lady (Phyllida Lloyd, UK, 2011) My rating: 3/5

Written by Jessica

March 27, 2012 at 1:00 am