Love or hate Margaret Thatcher's conservative politics, you can't deny her life story is intriguing. Meryl Streep's performance as the UK's only female prime minister in The Iron Lady has rightfully garnered award season buzz. Through flashbacks and scenes in the present day, Meryl brings to life a woman at the height of power and in the depths of grief. Here are four reasons any strong woman should watch the film about the lady with an iron will.
- It's honest about aging. I thought The Iron Lady would spend most of its time back in the 1980s. So I was surprised to see how much of the film focused on modern-day Margaret Thatcher, who is dealing with what appears to be dementia, grief, and irrelevance in modern society. Juxtaposing Margaret at her prime and then in her older age demonstrates that she's lived a full life with many highs. But it also makes you reflect on the inevitability of aging. Our lives can be filled with success and a great romance, but The Iron Lady offers young women an insightful peek at the melancholic chapter of life that comes after that. It gives the audience an elderly woman we can empathize with, not just a grandma caricature.
- There's an unusual love story. Unlike the typical relationship dynamic we see in movies or TV, in The Iron Lady the woman is the power player in the relationship. Margaret Thatcher's husband takes backseat to her career, and during her prime minster days we see her struggle to make time for her relationship and give her devoted husband more attention. When the film flashes forward to present day, it deals with Margaret Thatcher's horrifying grief and denial over her husband's passing. Meryl Streep's performance as an older woman longing for her beloved husband will help you relate to a grandparent, parent, or anyone else who has lost a partner.
- Femininity is an asset. In The Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher breaks down gender barriers to become Britain's first woman prime minister. But while she take lessons to make her voice sound more authoritative, she insists that keeping her pearls is non-negotiable. It seems Margaret Thatcher knew women had assets men don't posses. For example, in one scene she uses shared motherhood to connect with mothers who had lost their sons at war. As Margaret writes a letter, she notes she is the only PM in history who is a mother with a son, assuring the grieving mother that she can truly imagine her pain.
- It's an important moment in history. Margaret Thatcher witnessed views about a woman's role broaden dramatically in her lifetime and helped changed perceptions, too. Starting with a fresh-faced Maggie eager to go to Oxford, The Iron Lady tells the story of a woman with ambitious goals, and the entrenched and sexiest biases she must overcome to accomplish them. In the film, Margaret says "one's life must matter" — and she means that for both men and women.