Sunday, January 13, 2013
Performance Review: Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady
Meryl Streep received her further record breaking 17th nomination and won her third Oscar playing Margaret Thatcher, the fierce, conservative Prime Minister of Britian in The Iron Lady.
Meryl Streep was able to pull off a slightly surprising win last year for this film. She was in a tight race with The Help's Viola Davis, having won the Globe and the BAFTA and Davis having won the SAG and the Critics Choice Award. Given the fact that The Help was a strong Best Picture favorite and Davis's campaign was on a roll, not to mention The Iron Lady's poor reception, many gave Davis the edge. But it was Meryl, not Viola, who won. I'd say people felt Davis was not the real lead of her film and the academy doesn't often reward subtle performances. Also,Meryl had the Weinstein's on her side and after having been nominated 13 times without winning since her 2nd win nearly 30 years ago, voters felt it was finally time to honor Meryl.
Anyways, The Iron Lady is not a popular film around Oscar watchers and critics. However, I really liked it!! I felt it was wonderfully entertaining and well made. My only quibble would be with the fact that the film distances itself from her political beliefs and scenes, so they're not as involving as they should be or creative as they could have been. But it still doesn't take away from it's quality and you guessed it, from Meryl's performance.
I think Meryl Streep does a terrific job here. She really inhabits and nails all of Thatcher's mannerisms without making it too gimicky. It is mimicry, but I believed it every second, unlike Julie and Julia. She shows such great flair and attitude in all of Thatcher's polititical scenes, and they're very entertaining to watch. You can tell that she really understands the character of Margaret Thatcher, something that is really worth seeing in a performance. I love the humor that she brings to these scenes too.
Now, for the Old Lady scenes. Meryl truly milks these for all it's worth. She is incredibly convincing as an old woman batting with losing her memory and some of these scenes are truly heartbreaking. We can still see that these two women are the same, though she is much changed since retiring as Prime Minister and losing her husband (Jim Broadbent).
So, this is fantastic work by Meryl Streep that I liked much more then I thought I would. Although I'd say her Prime Minster get a bit repetitive due to the script, it's a minor complaint and Meryl rises above it to deliver a great performance.