Movie Review: The Iron Lady

If you are looking for a biography of a famous person told in storybook form you may be disappointed.

If, however, you are interested in what makes a leader, you will find much to value in The Iron Lady.

This biopic is told from flashbacks of the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who now, well advanced in years, takes us through a series of events from her rise to power to her ouster by her fellow Conservatives.

Three of the major themes in the movie are the loneliness of leadership and the conviction and courage necessary to be a successful leader.

Thatcher, portrayed by Meryl Streep, is confident in her vision for Great Britain even when it spawns opposition within her Conservative party, broad-based protests in London, and an attempt on her life.

She has the courage to stick with her principles whether they require unpopular spending cuts in the midst of a recession or going to war against Argentina in the Falkland Islands.

The theme of loneliness is reinforced in the shots of Great Britain’s first and only female Prime Minister surrounded constantly by men, and by returning again and again after each flashback to Thatcher alone in her apartment or in imaginary conversation with her deceased husband Dennis.

The Iron Lady is entertaining, but there is also much to be learned from Margaret Thatcher’s life. Leaders live in the lonely place between what is and what can be. Being a visionary is not enough. Many see but few have the courage to stand alone in the place where vision becomes reality. Margaret Thatcher had the whole package.

Thatcher’s ability to see what others can’t see is cleverly symbolized in her bouts of dementia in which she sees and talks to her late husband, Dennis. This is not a Hollywood dig at a political ideology with which it disagrees; to the contrary, the movie suggests that history proved Thatcher correct and validated her convictions. And in a nice ending, which I won’t spoil here, the movie reasserts Thatcher’s courage.

This is a movie I would definitely encourage Kingdom-loving Christians to see. Having the courage to live one’s convictions is essential for any leader who truly wants to bring about change, and for that reason alone, The Iron Lady is worth seeing. GS