Thatcher biopic heads towards parliamentary debate
by Naman Ramachandran
28/12/2011 - British director Phyllida Lloyd’s Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady has sharply divided critics since advance screenings began ahead of awards season and the film looks set to ride into the eye of a political storm in the UK.
A Conservative Member of Parliament has demanded a debate in the House of Commons prior to the film’s UK January 5 release. The Conservative Thatcher was Britain’s first female Prime Minister. It helps that the Conservatives, along with the Liberal Democrats, are the country’s current ruling party.
Conservative MP George Wilson has launched a broadside against the film, describing it as “intrusive and unfair” and has asked for a parliamentary debate on the grounds of “respect, good manners and good taste.” “I just wonder why the filmmakers had to go so heavily on the mental illness, the dementia side, when Baroness Thatcher has had a very important life in the politics of this country and the world. It left me wondering about the humanity of the film makers who are very subtly denigrating someone who was a great prime minister,” Wilson said. He also wondered why Lloyd and screenwriter Abi Morgan (Shame [trailer]) did not choose to focus more on the former Prime Minister’s formative years. Commons leader Sir George Young has agreed to the debate saying that he has heard “conflicting views” about the film.
Meanwhile, American actress Meryl Streep, who plays Thatcher, is all set for another joust at the many awards on offer. She has already won the Best Actress gong at the New York Film Critics Circle awards and scored a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Drama. BAFTA and Oscar nominations may not be far behind.
Thatcher reportedly has no desire to watch the film.