The Iron Lady is less of a biopic than an exploration of Thatcher’s legacy and the challenges she faced as a politician- a female one in particular.

While the film’s structure is executed well and succeeds in being very coherent, it lays on the schmaltz a bit thick. It takes an aged Thatcher’s mental state as a starting point and tells most of the story in the form of flashbacks triggered by old photos, present day situations or conversations with people- be they real, such as her daughter, or imagined, such as her late husband. The film is very fluid and it does a great job of not only telling her story, but dragging us into the mind of a confused woman; one who has a complex relationship with power, is going senile and is only just beginning to realize both of these things.

Streep is great which, considering her history, should probably go without saying., and portrayed Thatchers mannerisms down to a tee. As for the supporting actors; Broadbent plays Thatcher’s husband Denis and provides most of the movie’s much needed comic relief while Roach and Lloyd play the couple in their younger days. While Lloyd is largely inoffensive and doesn’t really play that big a part, Roach is rather irritating as the young Thatcher and comes across as a rather unlikeable character.

For such a strong, divisive character, the film seems highly preoccupied with getting us to sympathize with her. The film focuses on Thatcher in her old age and we see her slowly succumbing to Alzheimer’s as she holds entire conversations with her late husband. . The film really highlights the emotional connection between the two, her method of coping with her grief over his passing and her bewilderment over losing her power both physically and politically. It’s pretty heart wrenching stuff and almost has you thinking of her as your grandmother except that she’s not; she’s Margaret Thatcher- one of the most inflexible, uncompromising prime ministers to ever rule the UK for better or worse.

The film is just too sentimental for a political biopic and especially for one about Thatcher; a famously unsentimental character. She isn’t the cute and fluffy little old lady that the film seems hell bent on turning her into and the filmmakers don’t seem to get that that’s ok. In fact, the film focuses so much on humanising Thatcher that it seems like more of a PR exercise than an actual movie. Her politics are glossed over in favour of watching her succumb to Alzheimer’s or suffer from sexist treatment in parliament. And while both of these points are worthy, they could happen to anyone. The film should have focused more on a story that was unique only to Thatcher who, like her or loathe her, was not only Britain’s longest serving prime minister but also its first and only female one.