A film about Margaret Thatcher, Iron Lady (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1007029), has recently been released and what follows is an excerpt from a review I read in today’s Austin American Statesman.

“Though little has been written in the press about Thatcher over the past 10 years, she has been suffering from the deteriorating effects of dementia. … The most affecting part of the movie comes from the examination of what happens when a former world leader is reduced to being just another old person suffering the effects of aging. Seeing Thatcher, a woman comprised of such fierce fire and intimidating ice, in declining health reminds us that time is eventually unkind to us all. But why are we forced to view this part of the woman’s life without examining what made her great and flawed? The movie feels mean while at the same time trying to make the audience feel sympathy.” (Odam)

In case you missed the 1980’s, Margaret Thatcher “served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. During her time as prime minister, Thatcher’s strict conservative policies, hard line against trade unions and tough rhetoric in opposition to the Soviet Union earned her the nickname the Iron Lady.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Thatcher)

And others have expressed similar views.

“… You can’t help wondering, why do we have to have this film right now. It is a film much more about ageing and elements of dementia rather about than an amazing prime minister,” David Cameron, current UK Prime Minister recently told BBC Radio 4.

One-time Thatcher rival, Michael Heseltine, took a similar view, “I think Mrs. Thatcher was a formidable prime minister and to produce a film in her later stages of life depicting the problems of advanced old age, I find extremely distasteful,” he told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper. (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45898042/ns/today-entertainment)

What’s the point here? Well I was reminded of the sculpture by Auguste Rodin, Celle Qui Fut La Belle Heaulmiere (She Who Was the Helmet-Maker’s Beautiful Wife). I discussed this art work in It’s Curious back in November. It’s a statue of an old woman and it makes us ponder the wonderful life she has had. I think this film, Iron Lady, makes us consider the whole person too, not just the powerful politician or female role model. So, it is again curious that people find such a vantage point to be distasteful or mean.

References and Resources

Odam, M. Streep can’t save Iron Lady. Austin American Statesman, 1-13-12. http://events.austin360.com/reviews/show/14122404-review-the-iron-lady

Picture from – http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f6/Margaret_Thatcher_cropped1.png