Ruffling feathers all along the political spectrum, the Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady is neither a hagiography nor a hatchet job but deserves to be seen for Meryl Streep’s magnificent Oscar-winning performance in the lead role.

Reuniting with her Mamma Mia director, Phyllida Lloyd, Streep truly is astonishing. Yes, she gets Thatcher’s voice and manner spookily right, but her acting goes beyond impersonation to inhabit the role in a way few would have thought possible. Significantly, she doesn’t just portray Thatcher in her prime ministerial prime but shows the former leader struggling with the onset of dementia in lonely old age, visited by daughter Carol (Olivia Colman) and benignly haunted by hallucinations of her dead husband, Denis, played with puckish humour by Jim Broadbent. The lack of dissenting voices will annoy some, as will the lack of political bite in Abi Morgan’s screenplay, yet in the end the film slips free of party political shackles to offer a moving portrait of loneliness and old age.

Movie Talk star rating:

Released on DVD & Blu-ray on Monday 23rd April by Pathé.

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