Tak­ing a hatchet to Thatcher

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

Per­haps in­evitably con­tro­versy has, two weeks be­fore re­lease, al­ready be­gun to bub­ble around Phyl­l­ida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady. Star­ring Meryl Streep as Mar­garet Thatcher, the pic­ture has been crit­i­cised for de­pict­ing the former UK prime min­is­ter in a state of ad­vanced de­men­tia.

Writ­ing in (where else?) the Daily Mail, re­li­able right-wing blowhard Si­mon Hef­fer com­mented: “The por­trayal of Lady Thatcher as a de­mented old lady, while she still lives and tries to cope with the de­bil­i­tat­ing ill­nesses of old age, is sim­ply cruel. It is deeply in­tru­sive.”

Mind you, De­nis Oliver, her former chauf­feur, has con­firmed that Mrs Thatcher is not in the best of men­tal health. “I’ll men­tion the film then,” he said, pon­der­ing an im­pend­ing visit. “But, trag­i­cally, I don’t know whether she’ll even know who I am – let alone that Meryl Streep is star­ring in a movie about her life.”

In ad­di­tion, John Camp­bell, whose bi­og­ra­phy was a source for The Iron Lady, has ques­tioned the film’s ac­cu­racy. “It’s over­sim­pli­fied his­tory and there is too much con­cen­tra­tion on her. There is a lot of po­etic li­cence go­ing on, in­clud­ing Meryl’s way of talk­ing to col­leagues.” There are now calls for a Com­mons de­bate on the film.

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