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The Iron Lady is a surprising and intimate portrait of Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep), the first and only female Prime Minister of The United Kingdom. One of the 20th century's most famous and influ... read more read more...ential women, Thatcher came from nowhere to smash through barriers of gender and class to be heard in a male dominated world. -- (C) Weinstein

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51% liked it

96,313 ratings

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51% liked it

207 critics

DVD Release Date: April 10, 2012

Stats: 3,596 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (3,596)


  • April 1, 2014
    Undoubtedly Meryl Streep's performance as the former Prime Minister of the UK was so good it could only be method. The rest of the film, however, is not as cohesive and linear as I would have liked. Jumping around in time is a fine storytelling device, and usually brings a greate... read morer emphasis on the importance of the future, but here it's misused, obviously trying to mirror other more popular films. I didn't see any importance in seeing Thatcher in modern times, slightly demented by the death of her husband and her life out of the public arena. Though it may have been an important part of Thatcher's life, we don't even see her husband onscreen enough to warrant him invading her life in the last section of the film. Everything felt rushed, the set pieces were nonexistent, the side characters were forgettable, and the extent of her reach was glossed over for a message of "women need to be taken seriously, more often." Though Thatcher was a trailblazer, and deserved better than a swift kick out of power by her underlings, the tragedy of this undeserved political ploy was underwhelming onscreen. Because everything is rushed along we never grasp the importance of Thatcher's reign, or her true character, which you would think, in a biopic, would be important.
  • May 10, 2013
    Mediocre and diffuse. With all her great performances Meryl Streep won an Oscar for this? She has been much better elsewhere.
  • March 22, 2013
    Ms. Streep gives a valiant effort to breath life into the crinkly, yellowed parchment of a script. Every nuance perfect, as is the accent - every mannerism, from the steely, self assured Prime Minister to the dottering, confused octogenarian, Meryl gets it all so right; which is... read more in direct opposition to the direction of Phyllida Lloyd. It's sad when the only real humanity shown in the film is in the portrayal of Dennis Thatcher by the great Jim Broadbent - ironic since he is playing a ghost for much of the film.

    Lloyd's pacing leaves much to be desired as way too much time is spent establishing that the aged Thatcher is tottering on the edge of senility. Lloyd also chooses to tell the story in a disjointed jumble of recollections that strip away any drama, so instead of an insightful look into one of the strongest willed women of the 20th century (hence the title, something Lloyd should have paid attention to), you get a cliff notes outline of her political career. You come away knowing that she had the typical British stiff upper lip and an amazing resolve, but you never really know the woman - and isn't that the alleged point of a biopic?

    The film is like a history class taught by a bad teacher - all date memorization with no human point of reference behind it; so in the end you have a curiosity piece that only satisfies because of yet another skilled performance to add to the Streep canon.
  • March 7, 2013
    Biodrama..my favorite genre. Meryl Streep..an actress that I most admire. Put these two things together, and I have a film that I very much enjoyed. Not terribly fast paced, but definitely well done, and quite interesting...
  • February 2, 2013
    Never compromise.

    Mediocre Film! Meryl Streep's performance in this movie was phenomenal. Unfortunately the movie was not. If you want to go see a movie about the life and career of Margaret Thatcher do not waste your time. If you want to see an elderly woman struggling with dem... read moreentia for 2 hours then this is your movie. The movie barely goes over Thatcher's rise to prime minister or her personal life. Instead 80% of the movie focuses on Thatcher's current health state, only showing her confused and disoriented. The movie does a few 5 minute flashes to her past but it probably only amounts to about 25 minutes. Finally I find it despicable that instead of highlighting Thatcher's achievements, Hollywood choose to exploit her dementia a condition she has kept from the public and tried to be extremely private about.

    Elderly and a virtual prisoner in her own home due to her concerned staff and daughter Carol, Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first woman prime minister, looks back on her life as she clears out her late husband Denis's clothes for the Oxfam shop. Denis is seen as being her rock as she first enters parliament and then runs for the leadership of the Conservative Party, culminating in her eventual premiereship. Now his ghost joins her to comment on her successes and failures, sometimes to her annoyance, generally to her comfort until ultimately, as the clothes are sent to the charity shop, Denis departs from Margret's life forever.
  • November 11, 2012
    Seriously depressing movie. This is more about Margaret's struggles in later life with dementia and mourning her husband than about her career. It's very well done, and Meryl is excellent, but I really would have liked more detail and history of events than the sad portrayal of a... read moren old lady. Felt very down at the end of it. Not sure it is very respectful either. I'm I am not really up on what Margaret actually did as prime minister, which was part of the reason I was interested to see this. Right or not, she was obviously a strong woman with an interesting life. It seems they could have made this movie about any old lady with similar health problems.
  • October 19, 2012
    Fantastic cast. Meryl Streep can do no wrong. She's unbelieveable as Margaret Thatcher.
  • August 13, 2012
    Meryl Streep's performance is near perfection, but the majority of the 'Iron Lady' is slow and relatively boring.

    Exploring the life of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, there are good performances from all the cast, but it is the screenplay which lets down the rest of th... read moree film. It's 'gentle' pace becomes 'slow' and then 'too slow.' And this speed never picks up.

    To say nothing of the genre choice. 'The Iron Lady' can't seem to decide between being a bio-pic or a fictional tale using a real life character. This is the film's greatest flaw, and one it never can get over. The real moments of her long tenure as leader of the United Kingdom and her real life, are mixed in, wrongly, with complete nonsense moments.

    There are some moments of passionate and visually pleasing pieces of cinematography and background, as well as some wonderful script lines, some real, some not.

    But overall, the film is a disappointing tale of a massively powerful woman. Whether you hate her or love her, such a powerful and important person in history, deserves better.

    Even Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent's performances can't save this dreary film, but they do lift it some way.
  • June 6, 2012
    Phyllida Lloyd started out her career in the theatre - this should give a clue about what to expect from The Iron Lady. It's basically a fictional account of Thatcher's life, then and now. It's about 25% factual for good measure but it's a bit of a stretch to call it a true biopi... read morec. The narrative is horrible, fans and critics can at last agree on something. It is of course Meryl Streep's performance that makes it worth seeing. The supporting cast is sometimes successful too but often amusing when it shouldn't be. I think Olivia Coleman deserves recognition too for her spot on performance, again she goes criminally overlooked. I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would but I dread to see what Phyllida Lloyd comes up with next.
  • May 19, 2012
    When I hear the word âladyâ?, the image of Kate Winsletâ(TM)s character in TITANIC comes to mind. You know, someone who is overall quite respectful, but also feels she deserves a high level of respect. Put the word âironâ? in front of it, and my definition is undermined. T... read morehe title made me curious about what the film would be like. Allow me to say that by some standards, Margaret Thatcher (or at least the way Meryl Streep portrayed her) was a lady, but she only meets half of the forenamed definition. In other words, she appears a niggardly woman who desires nothing but respect, whilst giving no respect to her people. Meryl is what makes this seriously underwhelming picture watchable. With the strong resemblance she bears to Thatcher, combined with the flawless performance and 100% transformation into her character, itâ(TM)s possible that one of her great, attention-demanding speeches here could pass for archive footage of the real Margaret Thatcher.

    Had this film excluded Meryl, or used anyone but her, it would have failed miserably. I canâ(TM)t argue with the fashion here, because it is based on history, but I can argue with the fashion in which it was presented. We just donâ(TM)t get enough time seeing Thatcher as Prime Minister of Great Britain. So much time is spent on her old age and her state of dementia that the end seems sudden, even after an hour and forty-five minutes. Furthermore, the presentation of her dementia was a misfire. The intent was most likely to be effective, but instead these scenes went overboard. Often times, I thought I was watching a psychological horror movie, due to the odd lighting, subtle music, and audio editing. Itâ(TM)s a figure of speech when people say an actor or actress âcarried the movieâ?, but here this is taken to a whole new level. In fact, I couldnâ(TM)t spot anything here other than Meryl that could make this film so engaging, beyond all the noticeable flaws.

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Critic Reviews


Tom Long
January 13, 2012
Tom Long, Detroit News

Yes, Streep is wondrous as usual, but her superpowers have been squandered here. Full Review

January 13, 2012
Globe and Mail

The Iron Lady is a performance in search of a film. Full Review

Lisa Kennedy
January 13, 2012
Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

Often "The Iron Lady" relies on montages to get to - and plow through - historic high points. Full Review

Ann Hornaday
January 13, 2012
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

[Streep's] performance overpowers the movie it's in - a perfectly executed triple axel that renders everything else just featureless ice. Full Review

Mick LaSalle
January 12, 2012
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Streep's performance is so true and so uncannily accurate, so full and so complete in its understanding, that she is fascinating every second she is onscreen. Full Review

J. R. Jones
January 12, 2012
J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader

Streep, no fan of Thatcher, nicely undercuts the poignancy of her current condition with flashbacks that reveal her brittle arrogance in office. Full Review

Moira MacDonald
January 12, 2012
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times

While the rest of "The Iron Lady" fades quickly in memory, Meryl Streep's performance in the title role remains startlingly present. Full Review

Wesley Morris
January 12, 2012
Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

Everything Streep does here is a seismic act of theater. If she so much as tilts her head, the earth tilts with it. She doesn't simply overwhelm this thin historic biography - and the other actors aro... Full Review

Steven Rea
January 12, 2012
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

The portrait that Streep delivers in Phyllida Lloyd's impressionistic biopic is astonishing. Full Review

Connie Ogle
January 12, 2012
Connie Ogle, Miami Herald

Streep is Oscar-worthy here, as she almost always is, which is hardly a surprise, and the historic subject matter is fascinating whichever way your politics may lean. Full Review

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Facts


    • Margaret Thatcher: If you take the tough decisions, people will hate you today, but they will love you in generations.
    • Margaret Thatcher: One of the greatest problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas. Now, thoughts and ideas, that interests me.
    • Margaret Thatcher: Gentlemen, shall we join the ladies?
    • Margaret Thatcher: Watch your thoughts, for they will become actions. Watch your actions, for they'll become... habits. Watch your habits for they will forge your character. Watch your character, for it will make your destiny.
    • Margaret Thatcher: Well, it used to be about trying to do something. Now it is about trying to be someone.
    • Denis Thatcher: Yes, the medicine is harsh, but the patient requires it in order to live. Should we withhold the medicine? No.

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