Film | Great Britain | Margaret Thatcher | Meryl Streep

WATCH: Meryl Streep And Phyllida Lloyd Talk About 'Iron Lady'

Apparently, the new Thatcher biopic, Iron Lady, is long on Margaret-Thatcher-The-Woman and short on Margaret-Thatcher-The-World-Historic-Personage. Some critics have grumbled about the artists' insistence on humanizing the old boogylady, while acknowledging how affecting it is to see Meryl Streep, Thatcher's onscreen avatar, done up as a doddering old post-retirement Maggie in the grips of burgeoning dementia. Listening to Streep and her director, the fantastic Phyllida Lloyd (who's a lesbian, incidentally), dish on the film with The Hollywood Reporter, it becomes clear that it's all intentional -- the artists believed Maggie's politics were among the least interesting things about her. Towards the end, Streep gets off one of the coolest and most surprising answers I've heard an actor give in an interview:

Hollywood Reporter: What would you each like people to, in a perfect world, take away from this film? Would you like them to think differently in some way about Margaret Thatcher or what she represented, or the era that she came from? Is there something you'd be very pleased to know people left here thinking?

Meryl Streep: I would like to think that everybody that got on a subway and saw some old lady sitting across from them, that they would imagine that a whole huge life lay behind all those wrinkles, and that seemingly nondescript, forgettable [face]. I mean, there is almost nothing less interesting in our consumerist society than an old lady. Um ... dismissed. We don’t make movies for her. We don’t give a damn. You can’t sell her anything, she doesn’t buy anything. But just the idea that everything -- the whole panoply of human experience, births, deaths, struggles, joy -- everything’s in there. And just to imagine that. That’s what I would hope.

Watch the interview AFTER THE JUMP ...

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  1. thank you so much for posting this.

    Posted by: deedrdo | Dec 10, 2011 10:43:08 PM

  2. Margaret Thatcher is not "some old lady." She's a monster.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 11, 2011 7:58:45 AM

  3. "How she had to be ten times more prepared." But she wasn't "prepared" in the way Streep imagines. Thatcher was a thug.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 11, 2011 8:12:19 AM

  4. Very disappointing. This clip demonstrates why Feminism is such a fraud.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 11, 2011 8:45:42 AM

  5. Wow, someone REALLY doesn't like Margaret Thatcher.

    I think the point here is: Don't judge a book by it's cover. And we gay guys are about the best group at doing that. Yes, she did some terrible things but I think Meryl is saying that EVERYONE has a back story that is rich and diverse. Don't discount anyone based on their outward appearance.

    Posted by: johnny | Dec 11, 2011 9:02:56 AM

  6. "Don't discount anyone based on their outward appearance."

    So Thatcher's overall conservatism, her contempt towards labor, her quiet alliance with financial, unproductive capital - are all appearences? Interesting. We should perhaps ask ourselves whether our Santorum- or Perry-bashing aren't based on appearances. After all everyone has a back story, hm?

    Posted by: HoHo | Dec 11, 2011 9:30:08 AM

  7. Wow, someone REALLY doesn't know jack about the UK.

    You would rather have had the unelected thugs of the labour movement, i.e. Arthur "President for Life" Scargill of the National Union of Mineworkers, use illegal strikes to run the country into the ground? Let me guess, you saw Billy Eliot and now you're an expert on recent British economic history. It's naive in the extreme to believe that the heavily-Catholic labour movement of 1970's Britain would have been any more pro-gay than the Conservatives (the leader of which before Thatcher was widely assumed to be gay).

    Posted by: PaulR | Dec 11, 2011 11:54:41 AM

  8. Some of my favorite anti-Thatcher songs:

    The Jam: Town Called Malice
    Morrissey: Margaret On The Guillotine
    The Specials: Ghost Town
    Elvis Costello: Tramp The Dirt Down
    The (English) Beat: Stand Down Margaret

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Dec 11, 2011 12:23:01 PM

  9. I despised Margaret Thatcher's policies. However I have seen The Iron Lady and it is not really about politics or Thatcherism. In addition to it being Meryl's best work in years and years, it's a wonderful film. Beautifully made. Margaret Thatcher has had a fascinating life, and although I think she had a very negative impact it still was a significant impact, and her story is certainly worthy of capturing in this wonderful film.

    Posted by: Robert | Dec 11, 2011 2:21:43 PM

  10. We shouldn't forget Thatcher was also a homophobe and it took more than one decade to undo the damage.

    The Labour Party also identical with the unions, even in 1979. Who knows if Thatcher had won, had Labour given in and avoided the public-sector strikes prior to her election.

    The claim about the labour movement being Catholic is also unimportant. Look at France, Ireland and Spain. Heavily Catholic countries and movements have regularly rejected church doctrine regarding LGBT people.

    Posted by: Chris AE | Dec 11, 2011 4:56:20 PM

  11. Thank you Robert for actually saying something rational. Others please copy.

    Posted by: arthur | Dec 12, 2011 3:46:25 AM

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