The Iron Lady (2011)
Meryl Streep's pinpoint and masterful emulation of Britain's first female prime minister, a performance which is also remarkable for how Streep with equal conviction brings Thatcher to life in her 80s as well as her 40s, elevates this otherwise inconsequential biopic. As helmed by Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia!), the film is surprisingly directionless – not in chronology, but in soul and purpose. It seems the filmmakers decided it would be a good idea to make a film about Thatcher, perhaps because they got Streep on board, but there is no indication as to why they wanted the film made or what they want to say with it. There is no glowing fascination for the subject, or urge to tell her side of the story. There is no warm behind-the-scenes approach (except for her continued "dialogues" with her late husband), and there is no probing criticism and scrutiny of her professional career. In recent years, there has been an increased focus on biopics, and especially political ones, being unbiased, and while this is well and good, an account like The Iron Lady is largely meaningless unless it doesn't have anything to communicate; a stance, an angle or an edge. The Iron Lady gives us little more than a listing of events – albeit a brilliantly acted and well made one. If you want examples of how similar type of films can be done more successfully, see Into the Storm or The King's Speech.