Taking a hatchet to Thatcher
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.