The Iron Lady

  • 12
  • Phyllida Lloyd (2011)
  • UK / Fr
  • 104 min
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Film Review
Reviewed By
2 out of 5

While BBC4's The Long Walk to Finchley dramatised ten years in the young life of future Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd here bravely tackles the whole thing, told in smash-and-grab flashbacks from Lady Thatcher's amnesiac dotage. Meryl Streep, with disarming conviction and entertaining panache, plays her at various stages of adult life, and is gregariously supported by Jim Broadbent as the ghost of her late husband Denis. This could, in the hands of talented screenwriter Abi Morgan (TV's The Hour), have been a fascinating chamber piece about love in old age. Instead, while dutifully ticking off the key historical events - the Falklands, the miners, the Brighton bombing, etc - the movie fails to find purchase on any broader motivation, beyond that of quasi-feminist megalomania. Beyond the fun of playing spot the MP (and spot the character actor), it lacks the focus of a comparable biopic such as The Queen. Without the Oscar-winning Streep, it's just high-quality biographical karaoke.

Plot Summary

Biographical drama starring Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent. An elderly Margaret Thatcher looks back on her life as she sorts through her late husband's possessions. She reflects on her turbulent political career and how she rose through the ranks of the Conservative Party to become Britain's first female prime minister.

Cast and crew


Margaret Thatcher
Meryl Streep
Denis Thatcher
Jim Broadbent
Carol Thatcher
Olivia Colman
Young Margaret Thatcher
Alexandra Roach
Young Denis
Harry Lloyd
Geoffrey Howe
Anthony Head
Michael Heseltine
Richard E Grant
Gordon Reece
Roger Allam
Michael Foot
Michael Pennington


Phyllida Lloyd

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Fox / Pathe
Some violence, brief nudity.
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 6 Jan 2012
Certificate 12