London takes to the Iron Lady

London is buzzing about yet another American actress. No, we are not talking about Megan Fox or any of these stars come lately.

By Sudha Menon

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Published: Sat 19 Nov 2011, 11:48 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:03 AM

We are talking about the lady who does justice to every role that comes her way, be it in last year’s ABBA musical Mamma Mia! or as the horrid fashion editor in The Devil Wears Prada.

Meryl Streep is in London and has managed to set off a thousand tongues wagging for and against her, thanks to what the critics are insisting is another awe-inspiring performance in The Iron Lady, an upcoming Hollywood biopic on Margaret Thatcher, arguably Britain’s most controversial prime minister in recent times.

Promoting the film ahead of its January 2012 release, Streep has not had an exactly rosy welcome in what was Thatcher’s territory for almost two decades when she took the country through a series of controversial reforms. Streep’s portrayal of the now Baroness Thatcher, apparently caricatured as a toughie who nagged her husband and had scant respect for colleagues and her rivals in the Labour Party, has caused the former prime minister’s admirers to dismiss the movie as sensational movie trash.

For Streep, known for her liberal views and causes, playing the Iron Lady can’t have been easy given that she had to shed her skin to get into that of a woman who was not exactly known for anything liberal. And yet, she said last week that playing Thatcher, an “incredibly divisive figure”, was awesome . “I still don’t agree with a lot of her policies,” she said, “but I feel she believed in them and that they came from an honest conviction.... She stuck to what she believed in, and that’s a hard thing to do.

“I think of that Spitting Image puppet of her with its eyeball coming out and I wonder what it feels like to be a person represented by that. To be a leader willing to take the level of hatred for the decisions they make, I really do stand in awe of that. It was one of those rare, rare films where I was grateful to be an actor and grateful for the privilege of being able to look at a life deeply with empathy. There’s no greater joy.”

Critics in London have almost all of them given the thumbs up to Streep’s flawless performance in the movie , hinting that this could well earn her yet another Academy Award nomination—she has an incredible 16 nominations till date.

This time, though, she will have to convince a largely liberal jury that her turn as a Conservative politician needs to be given a chance too. Knowing the conviction with which she does everything that comes her way, we are sure this sterling actor will manage that formidable task too.

In the meantime, we can’t wait for this movie to come to the theatres near us...


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