I will join the chorus: Meryl Streep deserves an Oscar for her performance in The Iron Lady. Indeed, the film has nothing of real value but this performance: Margaret Thatcher walking down a hall, Margaret Thatcher meeting the people, Margaret Thatcher confronting her hotheaded critics in Parliament, Margaret Thatcher dancing with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher drinking a little too much, Margaret Thatcher losing her mind, Margaret Thatcher speaking to her dead husband, Margaret Thatcher cleaning a teacup. The Iron Lady is not, as some critics have argued, apolitical. Nor does the director, Phyllida Lloyd, go out of her way to directly denounce Thatcher’s brutal neoliberal economic policies, obscene nationalism, and warmongering. The politics of this film are revealed instead by Streep’s performance itself. In one scene near the middle of the film, we watch Thatcher practicing to become Thatcher: She learns to speak with authority, she changes her hair and clothes, she hardens her iron will. What Streep shows is that performance was the essence, the core, the ultimate source of Thatcher’s political power. recommended

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