Meryl Thatcher, Gin Gimlet Snatcher
4 oz. Beefeater Gin
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
Splash of soda water, if you please
Garnish with lime wedge and mint leaves
Hide your milk and get out the gin because it’s time to (pre-maturely, but appropriate nevertheless) toast Oscar Gold—and in 2012, awards season is spelled S-T-R-E-E-P.
It’s time… it’s time for Thatcher, it is. Nun, war-wife, fashion editor, Orchid enthusiast, Ethel Rosenberg, divorcee, expert violinist, Woody Allen’s ex-wife (gross)—Streep it is. But now, it is time… and as we find ourselves the final month of Award Season consideration, Streep’s highly anticipated portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was released a la “The Iron Lady”. This film was not only the deciding factor of scheduling holiday travel plans (sorry Mum) but also the most highly anticipated performance of the year. While my internet soapbox for Meryl support can be, dare I say, excessive, aggressive, and other violent adjectives related to being incessantly berated at, let me say this with the utmost conviction— if there is one truth I know, it is that the hour and forty minutes Meryl graces the screen, the performance is stunning. Absolutely stunning. Above all, Streep’s portrait of Thatcher reiterates her untouchable talent as a flawless storyteller. Her dedication is tangible in her transformation into the Conservative leader, affirming that film portrayals of public personae should never be bound by the façade of mere imitation.
Streep reunites with ‘Mamma Mia!’ director Phyllida Lloyd (yes, ‘Mamma Mia!’, that happened) for a cinematic incarnation of one of England’s most notorious politicians. The controversial Conservative of consistently polarized opinions would undoubtedly bring about a split reception of such an adaptation. Would Lloyd’s film interpret Thatcher’s own story in A: a humanizing portrayal of a revolutionary female politician who fought relentlessly for Britain, or B: a story of a callous tyrant whose ignorance arguably dismembered the country? Dare I say neither? ‘The Iron Lady’ proves to be not a political film but a sentimental reflection on the dementia deteriorating the mind of a politician, who happens to be Margaret Thatcher, who happens to be played by Meryl Streep, who happens to be outta-this-world awesome on a daily basis. Lloyd’s film is essentially a compiled slideshow featuring Thatcher’s professional, political and personal greatest hits: poignant moments with late husband Denis (the ever delightful Jim Broadbent) spliced together with inspired (but minimal) parliamentary sparring debates over the union strikes of the late 1980s. But unfortunately the film as a whole becomes a flimsy articulation, at best, of Thatcher’s policies. In this sense, viewers are forced to question the cost of delivering an often-overemotional narrative of an ageing, lonely Thatcher. Focusing so thoroughly on her current dementia and the consequential isolation she feels in the absence of Denis unravels any momentum the film had hoped to build towards a presumably “inspiring” portrait of an often dismissed political leader. Does the sentimental tone and presentation undermine Lloyd’s hopes as a film director in narrative rendition of Thatcher’s legacy? What is Lloyd saying after all? Is there anything truly to be learned from Lloyd’s film in regards to the Thatcher’s political heritage that we all already don’t know? Unfortunately not. Some of the film’s most powerful scenes feature footage from the Brixton riots and the haunting presence of Thatcher’s Britain still so relevant today.
However, Streep’s portrayal of the pearl wearing Conservative renegade eclipses the film in its entirety. Her performance exponentially eclipses the minimal strengths of the film as a whole. But you know what, that’s okay with me as this is Meryl’s role that will give her the awards sweep. So yes, Thatcher’s legacy is given the proper Hollywood treatment in a sugar-coated story of the often-visited ostracized underdog—but that’s not Meryl’s fault, now is it?
And so friends, as this year marks the 29th year since Meryl won Best Actress in a Motion Picture (29 years, 29 years…), it is with the utmost support, respect and general good vibe giving X that we must leave our Meryl’s fate in the hands of the Academy. (Yes, 29 years). But still friends, tipple hard on the delicious British good stuff whilst witnessing a properly magical cinematic transformation from Meryl Streep, greatest living actress to Meryl Streep, Thatcher attack!
C’mon friends, let your gullet get gin slick and get all types of parliamentary for Meryl.