The Iron Lady has proved to be extremely controversial - with many of those who attended Women2Win's private screening voicing many different opinions:
Jennifer Greenbury: The panel discussion at the end of the film was riveting and added to my enjoyment of the film itself. Quite honestly, I did not think it was a good film; it was repetitive and I couldn’t understand the point that it was making. I thought that Mrs T’s dementia was laboured and Mr T’s appearances almost cartoonlike. A lot of the time I felt that it was a study in Actor’s Atudio dramatics, with too much emphasis on Meryl Streep’s performance. A film about such a fascinating modern heroine should, I feel, have been more about her life as prime minister – the reflections of an elderly, demented woman are not what I want to see in a film about Margaret Thatcher. But, having said this, it was thought provoking and for any woman who might want to stand for parliament against difficult odds, it was inspiring. Despite my comments, it is a film I would recommend, not only because of the subject, but also because of Meryl Streep’s brilliant performance, and in fact the film’s flaws are also what makes it interesting.
Amanda Solloway: What a privilege to watch The Iron Lady at such a beautiful cinema and then listen to such an insightful panel afterwards. The film is well made, fabulously acted by the awesome Meryl Streep, entertaining(though at times a little tedious with the overuse of the dementia as a reflective tool )and moving. I have always been a little in love with the great lady and still am , with the film only making me wish even more that I had known her, wishing more than ever to be a bit more like her. We all take something different from every experience as we apply our own perspective, but for me I found the film reiterated what a great sense of duty she had, a brilliant mind, what absolute courage she had, that she was prepared to make sacrifices and decisions for the greater good- surely that is what makes a great leader- actually that was what made her a great leader. I thank the filmmakers
for giving me the opportunity to reflect on this greatness.
Georgina Butler: I was somewhat conflicted by the film: it was an extraordinarily good piece of acting by Meryl Streep and a moving portrayal of the effects of dementia on a person and on those dear to them. It did not make me feel less of Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister; indeed I think it brought out the many difficult challenges she had to face and how very courageous she was. I thought the brief snapshot of the problem of the Belgrano was well done. It is not easy being a woman at the top of an organisation composed mainly of men, not because a woman is less capable, but because it is quite lonely, as I know in a small way from having been an Ambassador. I envied her her Denis. There are not many men who are prepared or able to play second fiddle to a high-profile woman, to sit in the audience when she is on the stage; to live in a house which is dependent on her position, and I think Denis was a bit of a star. So that was my biggest gripe about the film - it made Denis out to be a bit of a buffoon. I think she was very lucky to have the support of a man like him. The strength of their relationship did come through in parts, but I was uncomfortable at the end when he is supposed to have said something along the lines of "you will get along without me; you always have".I think the final phrase was just a gratuitous remark to try and underpin the soubriquet of Iron Lady The fact that she kept Denis's things for so long demonstrates how much she missed him and his support. She was a surprisingly warm person to those she worked with and many she met socially, so I was glad they showed the sorrow of the staff when she left No 10 . She was treated shabbily by her colleagues and it has taken the Party a long time to recover. In short, I don't think the film will do Margaret Thatcher any harm; it may win an Oscar which may reflect well on her as well as on Meryl Streep, and it probably was not the place for a more carefully balanced analysis of her achievements. We all eagerly await Charles Moore's book to correct that and give us a more serious account of her contribution to the political, social and economic history of Britain.
Sally Marks: I did enjoy the film and was delighted that the event was organised. I, however, never thought that the film was going to be anything other than a Hollywood 'version' of a supposed life of Margaret Thatcher. I did not expect a documentary full of facts and figures of her life in Downing Street and beyond. I thought that if the intention to 'rubbish' Lady Thatcher was inspired by left-wing activists then that intention failed. She came over as a very strong and inspiring woman who overcame many odds to succeed and it was also plain to see that a strong leader was certainly needed at such a difficult time in British history. I was slightly uncomfortable about her being portrayed in the grip of Alzheimer's whilst still alive - although having close family members suffer from this accursed condition I must say that the rather tender and gentle view of its effect on someone as well-known as her will have underplayed the devastating effects it can have. Meryl Streep's portrayal of Lady Thatcher was extraordinary - and my natural antipathy towards a 'foreigner' playing one of Britain's great ladies in history was somewhat overcome. I am sure she will be in line for an Oscar. I did enjoy the panel discussion afterwards - it made the evening for me.