Who wants to see a movie about Margaret Thatcher? The Weinstein Company will find out today, as The Iron Lady goes into wide release. My guess is that an audience that shrugged at Harvey Weinstein’s other Oscar-baiting bioportrait, My Week with Marilyn (for good reason; it’s awful) will also roll its eyes at this one. There are some historical figures best left to biographers and documentarians, and based on the evidence of The Iron Lady Thatcher is one of them. But I could be wrong. There’s always the Meryl Streep factor to consider.
Streep is the latest-arriving of movie stars. Active in cinema since 1977, the actress’ actress (a record 16 Oscar nominations, two wins) didn’t arrive as a crowdpleaser until The Devil Wears Prada in 2006, when she was 57, and it’s been gravy ever since, with name-above-the-title hits that peers like Glenn Close and Jessica Lange can only dream about: Mamma Mia! (2008), her first collaboration with Iron Lady director Phyllida Lloyd, and a summer and Christmas season twofer in 2009, Julie & Julia and It’s Complicated. And it was complicated: the groundwork was laid 20-plus years earlier by directors like Mike Nichols (1986’s Heartburn and 1990’s Postcards from the Edge), Albert Brooks (1991’s Defending Your Life), and Robert Zemeckis (1992’s Death Becomes Her), who got her out of the accents and frippery of her storied beginning and made her lighter and more approachable. Eventually, at an age when most actresses are resigned to playing