Lady of sil­ver screen ad­mires PM

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

MERYL Streep says her ad­mi­ra­tion for Lady Mar­garet Thatcher grew as she made a film about Bri­tain’s former prime min­is­ter. The ac­tress has won plau­dits and gen­er­ated Os­car buzz for her role in The Iron Lady, a con­tro­ver­sial movie which has drawn crit­i­cism from the ex-tory party leader’s former col­leagues. But Streep says mak­ing the film has given her greater re­spect for a wo­man who suc­ceeded against over­whelm­ing odds. ‘‘The more I learned, the more my view of her changed. Wher­ever you stand on her poli­cies, and many peo­ple didn’t like her, the scale of her in­flu­ence and the fact that she got things done was ex­tra­or­di­nary,’’ she says. ‘‘And the men­tal, phys­i­cal, spir­i­tual en­ergy that it took to live ev­ery one of those days as head of the govern­ment was phe­nom­e­nal. It’s re­ally hum­bling to con­sider that she was at 10 Down­ing Street for 10-and-a-half years. I ad­mire that achieve­ment. I stand in awe of it, even though I didn’t agree with a lot of her poli­cies.’’ Streep, 62, plays the politi­cian over a 40-year span, show­ing her rise to the top. ‘‘I was aware of her very early on and, even though her poli­cies were not pop­u­lar, to say the least, in my cir­cles, peo­ple were kind of thrilled that a wo­man had be­come leader,’’ she says. ‘‘When I was in col­lege the pro­fes­sions open to women were so few – there were very few women that went to law school, no one dreamed of be­ing a cor­po­rate head, it was out of the ques­tion.’’ Former Con­ser­va­tive party chair­man Lord Teb­bit has called Streep’s per­for­mance as a frail old wo­man suf­fer­ing from de­men­tia sev­eral years af­ter De­nis Thatcher’s death ‘‘half-hys­ter­i­cal, over-emo­tional’’. Streep doesn’t agree. ‘‘The part of the story that in­ter­ested me the most was the part that’s wholly imag­ined and that’s set in the present day. And it’s about the di­min­ish­ment of power, the de­noue­ment of a big life,’’ she says. ‘‘That’s the part that writer Abi Mor­gan made up. But we have some ba­sis of re­al­ity be­cause of Carol Thatcher’s book ( A Swim-on Part in the Gold­fish Bowl: a Mem­oir) . . . we weren’t mak­ing up the de­men­tia; it’s drawn from Carol’s book and from talk­ing to peo­ple.’’ The film also stars Jim Broad­bent as De­nis Thatcher, An­thony Head as Geoffrey Howe, Richard E. Grant as Michael He­sel­tine and Olivia Col­man as Carol Thatcher.

The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady is screen­ing now.

Jim Broad­bent and Meryl Streep as De­nis and Mar­garet Thatcher in

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