Friday, March 16, 2012

The Iron Lady movie

Laura and I just watched the "Iron Lady" starring Meryl Streep in our Brookstreet Hotel room in Ottawa.  It is no wonder it is an Oscar Winner.  Margaret Thatcher was the first female prime minister of England and the longest serving prime minister.  Born in 1925,  this biographical movie shows her as a teen ager in a WWII bomb shelter with  her family.  Her father was a grocer and theirs was a family business. She is quoted as saying that  what the politician men called 'fiscal responsibility was just good housekeeping.'  The movie is truly a love story of the events of her career entwined with intimate scenes of the lifelong friendship and deeply loving relationship she had with her businessman husband, Dennis, father of her two children.  Jim Broadbent plays Dennis Thatcher with great charm and sensitivity.
The central story surrounds her development of early dementia in the years after the death of Dennis in 2003.  The events depicted in her shattered memory flow from her election years to struggles with the unions of England and the bombing of the IRA. She lost her close friend to a bomb and Dennis and she nearly died in another IRA bombing.  I was moved to tears by the depictions of their love story and their love of their two children.
I was in London myself during this time, evacuated repeatedly from my work in the television station because of bomb threats. My then wife, Baiba, was cut with broken glass when the building across from where she worked was bombed and her windows blown out. It was the violent times of  terrorism and always the struggle of whether to placate or stand up to bullying and violence.
Margaret Thatchers'  economic decisions turned the country around so that 'thatcherism' is now a part of Conservative and Labour policy.  She stood up to the Argentinian fascist military junta that invaded the Falklands winning that war with the support of the nation.  She was highly critical of the European Economic Union and later in life would argue that it was a mistake for England to join  and that the wise choice would have been to join a North American Economic Alliance.  The movie shows her resignation as Head of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. Throughout Meryl Streep is amazing.  It was only appropriate that the greatest actress of our day should play the greatest woman leader.  Director, Phyllida Lloyd  was truly inspired.

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