The Iron Lady

3:11 PM








Since we were talking about guilty pleasures the other day I feel obliged to disclose my YouTube guilty pleasure: European Parliament videos. I could watch them for hours, they are just too exciting.

That's why I was bound to love The Iron Lady and include Margaret Thatcher videos on my Youtube playlist. The latter definitely happen, the first is... uncertain. 

I mean, how would liberal Hollywood portray one of the most conservative politicians of the 20th century? You kind of expect some biased portrayal there.

Amazingly, there wasn't much in the movie that seemed directed at damaging Margaret Thatcher. The Iron Lady did focus too much on her later years, dedicating a lot of time to her dementia and hallucinations. It is a pity her years as Prime Minister weren't covered more extensively, but that is not criticizing or degrading her.

I also liked Meryl Streep's performance which is excellent as always. Notice the movie mentions that Thatcher practiced improving her voice and Meryl's voice in does change accordingly.  

And there are so many excellent lines in it that we become more and more interested in her. Hallucinations aside, the way she - in her old age - talks to her doctor is impressive.

But there's one thing I can’t let it slide. The "die washing up a tea cup" scene. 

In this particular scene, she loses an election and later receives a marriage proposal. Below is part of the dialogue and, no worries, there are no spoilers: 

Young Margaret Thatcher: I love you so much but, I will never be one of those women, Dennis. Who stays silent and pretty on the arm of her husband. Or remote and alone in the kitchen - doing the washing up, for that matter. 
Young Denis Thatcher: [Interrupts] We'll get help for that... 
Young Margaret Thatcher: No. One's life must matter, Dennis. Beyond all the cooking and the cleaning and the children. One's life must mean more than that. I cannot die washing up a teacup! I mean it, Dennis. Say you understand. 

Basically, before accepting her marriage proposal, Thatcher dismiss being a mother and a housewife as doing things that don't matter. This bothered me a lot. 

Firstly, there's the veracity issue. We don't know for sure if she said something like that or held such views. However, it is highly unlikely that she did. She was a conservative with a family of her own. Plus, she once said: "The feminists hate me, don’t they? And I don’t blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison." I doubt she would say something that insulting to many women.

Secondly, even if we put the issue of whether she said that or not aside, we have the fact that the movie said it. It is preposterous to not simply insinuate but clearly state that the work of housewives and mothers "doesn't mean" much. The viewers, specially women that think their life choices deserve respect, should not accept this. 

As if Thatcher's ambitious career and incredible achievements were a product of some sort of feminist liberation ideal she had and not her courageous sense of duty. 

Not to mention that regardless of the feminist issue, the "die washing a tea cup line" in the context of this movie is extremely nihilistic. Most of the movie is about Thatcher's dementia and decline, so it's as if regardless of how ambitious you are or how much you accomplish, you will end up in a miserable situation in the end of your life. 

It seems that since the movie wasn't openly critical of her politically, they inserted some political correctness into her personal life.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching the movie (I know it doesn't look that way) which proves that even a movie with some faults can't help but showing what an interesting character she was. 

What do you think of "The Iron Lady"? Any favorite lines? Mine is "Watch your character for it becomes your destiny"

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