As the Hollywood Reporter writes today, Meryl Streep’s portrayal of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady is already attracting as much controversy as the life and work of Thatcher herself. Ever since the trailer and early screenings have been released, news outlets in the United Kingdom are bursting (or going nuts, that lies in the eye of the beholder) with either praise for Streep’s performance and/or criticism for the film itself. And it’s quite difficult to select who’s seen the film, or just the trailer, or none. The THR continues, as the movie is being widely touted – largely because of Streep’s involvement – as an awards season favorite on both sides of the Atlantic, largely sight unseen. Former cabinet member and Tory stalwart Norman Tebbit wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper that Thatcher was “never, in my experience, the half-hysterical, over-emotional, over-acting woman portrayed by Meryl Streep.” That just from the trailer currently showing here. The media screenings begin in earnest next week here but the Tory stalwarts poo-pooing the movie in the pages of the right-wing leaning national The Daily Telegraph are queuing up. Tim Bell, one of Thatcher’s key PR advisers, described the film as a “non-event” and said he had no interest in seeing it (which means, basically, that he hasn’t seen it). The typically left-leaning national broadsheet The Guardian said in its early notice for the film that Streep’s turn is “astonishing and all but flawless; a masterpice of mimicry which re-imagines Thatcher in all her half-forgotten glory.” I personally think that the outrage of any media is a welcome promotion for the film itself. Holding its trailer and screenings back for as long as possible has succeeded in making “The Iron Lady” the talk of the town.
‘Lady’ sparks media frenzy following first screenings