Don't bother with the reviews. The critics are finding any number of reasons to dislike the new film bio of Margaret Thatcher's life, Iron Lady, but few of them are sufficiently honest or self-aware to diagnose their own malaise.
In a typical bit of indirection, one critic scoffs at the film's "hedging apolitical stance." This translates, in the words of one of the more forthright critics, into--"We are briefly deluded into thinking that [Margaret Thatcher] might indeed have been a great leader, and an icon for feminism."
The critics wanted to see Thatcher raked over the coals. What they got instead was, in fact, a portrait of a great leader and a feminist icon, staring down the striking miners, fearlessly battling the IRA, kicking Argentine butt in the Falklands, helping Ronald Reagan win the Cold War, and repeatedly lending her TINO (Tory In Name Only) colleagues some needed backbone.
Among their friends, director Phyllida Lloyd and writer Abe Morgan may well claim that the portrait of Thatcher that the audience sees is really just the reflections of an old lady reviewing her life through eyes clouded by dementia, but if that was their plan, the fabulous Meryl Streep undoes it.
Thatcher's speeches, as brought to life by Streep, had my inner Tory cheering, and her indomitable presence had me wishing the Iron Lady could be on the ballot next week in South Carolina.