Meryl Streep's performance in The Iron Lady drives this biopic about Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister who’s been a conservative pinup queen for 30 years.
The movie opens late in Thatcher’s life, when bad health has left her under virtual house arrest and she’s relentlessly pursued by walking, talking hallucinations of her late lovable-goof husband (Jim Broadbent). The movie follows Thatcher as she jumps from one memory to the next.
The pace starts slow, mostly because we don't see much of the lady’s iron upfront, as scenes shift between Thatcher’s early days as a plucky grocer’s daughter struggling to find footing in England’s political scene (she's played by Alexandra Roach here) and her dementia-racked retirement.
Once Streep steps in, the screen starts running with historical mayhem. Recession, strikes, riots, bombings -- Thatcher’s reign on Downing Street was marked by endless opportunity for heavy statesmanship, and Streep’s PM handles each by adding another layer of ice to her resolve. It's the measured emotion Streep lets peak out from the tough exterior that makes the actress' performance so award-worthy.