Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Iron Lady

It’s the big film of the year so far (after one week) and I’m dying to see it. However, I won’t.

This isn’t due to the usual, trademark FatMancunian lazy gene kicking in as usual, no. There’s a reason.

If you don’t know what the Iron Lady is (welcome to the world outside your cave – this is the internet) it’s a biopic of the former Prime Minister of ours, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher. It’s told through the eyes of a woman in advanced years who is basically deteriorating with dementia at some rate and telling her tale through flashbacks. A story of how a plucky young chemist from a leafy Lincolnshire market town ended up being the first woman to rule Britannia since Elizabeth I.

Meryl Streep is, apparently, mesmerizing as Thatcher. Olivia Colman is, so I’m told, heartbreakingly good as Carol and I’m lead to believe that Jim Broadbent’s Denis Thatcher is a treat.

I’ll never know.

I won’t see it….and here’s why.

The words “Margaret Thatcher” cannot help but stir the feelings of anyone over the age of 30, or politically aware. She divided opinion in the same way she tried to divide the country when in power, and my opinion – as naive as it may be – is as strong as any other opinion I hold.

I detest her.

I’m on the organising committee for the street parties when she dies, her picture threatens me, her voice rankles me and I don’t fully trust (as a rule – there ARE exceptions) those who saw the good in her. This is due in equal part to my upbringing and my own politics and her place against everything I hold dear.

As a result, I will not be able to look at the film objectively and as such won’t enjoy it. From what I can gather from reviews I’ve read and heard this film does what most biopics do and looks at the person behind the facade. The mother, the wife, the poor old lady who is being ravaged by a failing mind.

It looks at the cosmetics of her tenure, how image was so important in her rise to power without challenging the way she treated the poorest in her society.

To me she is a monster, a boogieman. It’s troubling to me that I have such a low opinion of her that the recent revelations about the disgraceful way her cabinet planned to deal with the social problems that Liverpool suffered (as a direct result of her policies and actions) came as no surprise whatsoever.

This film humanises Margaret Thatcher….and I don’t want my demons humanized.

To expose myself to any attempt at empathising with her worries me because I might realise that she’s just a woman, just a normal person, just a human being, a fellow human being….and I just don’t want any suggestion that Thatcher and I share anything entering my psyche. I’m depressed enough.

So as much as I’d like to take in what is from most accounts a fine piece of film-making, I’ll avoid it. Keep the Boogieman under the bed, where she belongs.