Phyllida Lloyd, director of 'Mamma Mia,' reunites with Meryl Streep to bring this strange and fractured tale of an aged and all too human ex-Prime Minister, on the verge of dementia. In focusing on the aging protagonist and her flashes of memories and chats with her deceased husband Dennis, the film portrays Lady Thatcher as a human being - no small feat in itself. For those who lived through the Thatcher years in the UK, it's almost impossible to see her as anything but The Iron Lady she and Murdoch's media portrayed her as. Giving her a heart is a major achievement in its own right. Yes, Meryl Streep is transformative in her portrayal. But this life required a lot more than 1 hr 45 minutes to do much more than skim the surface. The material deserves at least a nine-hour BBC / HBO mini-series! Squeezing everything down to this digestible Hollywood biopic style running time creates a two-dimensional portrait of a "feminist" heroine rather than a complex, multi-layered, complex person who was far from perfect and far from a political Joan of Arc... But at least this film tries to deliver something different in its non-linear structure. Being way way to slight of time, it fails - but fails admirably. As for Meryl Streep? Her performance alone is enough to garner three (right-wing and very blue) stars.
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