Monday, November 14, 2011

Meryl Streep Seizes Control of British Empire; Demands Oscar as Ransom

British readers, help me out here: It's been my impression that Margaret Thatcher at this point is really only still lionized by the American right-wing; and that her "legacy" isn't looked upon favorably by anything approaching a majority of her own country. Yes? No?

I mean, is there ANY market for what appears to be a gauzy, mostly-favorable biopic boiling Thatcher down to a "tuff broad takes on the Boys Club" story? Or is this another "British" movie only Americans (well, American AMPAAS-voters) will care about?


Dave said...

There are a few brits who, for reasons known only to themselves, look favourably on the woman; but I know far more who plan to hold a party on the day on her death. She is still regarded by most as the woman who destroyed and monetized British society.

Danny said...

People are pretty much split down the middle on Margaret Thatcher. While many dislike her (myself included), a lot of people view her as a national icon.

And Bob, it's worth pointing out that The King's Speech (you were talking about that as the British film only Americans care about, right?) was a huge hit over here. In the awards season, the British media were falling over themselves to praise it, and talk about how it winning best picture was a 'victory' for Britain. It is the 2nd most successfull film of 2011 at the UK box office after Harry Potter (even if I wasn't a fan).

Yaseen said...

Well, among the young, hip, liberal, tweeting, blogging population of the UK, this is the kind of thing that becomes popular when it comes to Thatcher:

The best representation of her in fiction I've ever read was in Alan Hollinghursts' The Line of Beauty. Reviewers compared her to Kurtz in Apocalypse Now: she's this god-like figure that looms over the whole book but only appears about two-thirds through, briefly.

But to answer your question more directly, yeah, I think this is one for the market of British/US conservatives still idolising 80s Reaganism.

Sam said...

In our House up near Sheffield, talking about Thatcher is like speaking taboo!
I tried telling many of my friends and family that a film about Thatcher is being made and they OUT-RIGHT did not believe me!! Then when I explained it will most likely show her in a positive light they all (well, bar one...) swore at me and told me how offensive and stupid it was... then proceeded in telling me that if I watched it I'd be disowned or lose friends...

I hate to say it, but in light of the recent (and awfully ridiculas) riots made around Britain lately, I foresee similar events to follow as the press for this film increases! Hope I'm wrong!!!

Mark said...

Why not cast a British actress as Thatcher?

The Lonely Wizzard said...

I'm Irish and we certainly still hate the woman who allowed Irish men to starve to death in prison rather than give in to reasonable demands, mostly for the sake of her own pig-headed pride.
And from my experience, the majority of British people hate her too, and with good reason. I think the greatest representation of her in popular culture will always be in Raymond Briggs' picture book about the falklands war "The tinpot foriegn general and the old iron woman". She was a stubborn old crone who sent British soldiers to die in a bid for personal glory.
In many ways she can be compared to George Bush. Dragged her country into a bloody foreign war the majority of people didn't want? Check! Allowed and defended the torture and imprisonment without trial of accused terrorists? Check! Fucked up her country with cruel, anti-working class economic policy? Check!
Sorry for the long post, this stuff pisses me off.

Tom said...

Are we sure the film is mostly-favorable? The trailer might be selling something even-handed, but I'm getting a vaguely Nixonian vibe off of Streep's performance in these clips.

Alex Gray said...

I dunno, as British person I think that most people still don't like what Thatcher did. However their is no denying that she was impressive woman. Though I think it must be said that her politics fell much more closely inline with the modern american right wing than any currently existing political party in Britain now. I think even the Tory's (the Conservative party)admire her more for her ability to get results than the actual contents of those results. As for why cast an american to play her, Meryl Streep is probably the most able actress of her generation. I wonder if this will be her iconic movie. I mean, other actors of her calibre have iconic roles which they cement in the public consciousness, Brando has Don Corleone, Audrey Hepburn has Holly Golightly. Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson have their iconic characters. I think its time Meryl Streep got one.

Anonymous said...

Personally I don't hate her and am from a northern city that are said to have been screwed by her. While not every thing she did was good, some of what she did was. The person above said she was like bush, going to war which most people didn't want, which is wrong. The war boosted her popularity because the country supported it and rightly so.

James said...

Bob, the most objective answer to your question is that she remains a highly controversial and polarising figure. Like most politicians, she has many detractors but also many fans.

She had an enormous impact on British society and politics and reshaped it for a generation. Your view of her legacy depends utterly on your politics and personal beliefs. I have no idea if a majority like or dislike her, but she frequently is ranked quite highly in opinion polls and rankings of British Prime Ministers conducted since she left office (source:

Her supporters consider her to have revitalised and rejuvenated a tired, heavily nationalised economy, tamed the over mighty trade unions, and to have established Britain as a world power to be reckoned with again.

Her detractors consider her to have trodden on the rights of workers, destroyed the manufacturing base of the country, created mass unemployment and ripped apart the social fabric of British society by promoting aggressive individualism.

I hope that was an informative and at least somewhat balanced answer to your question.

smile said...

I assume from the trailer the movie revolves around the Falkland Island war?

Many people, including myself, say that's the only thing she did RIGHT.

Mads said...

I mean, is there ANY market for what appears to be a gauzy, mostly-favorable biopic boiling Thatcher down to a "tuff broad takes on the Boys Club" story?

I bet there is, but then, Britts don't need to be pandered to. They can enjoy a biopic they disagree vehemently with, even if they might not admit it, and it certainly won't stop them from watching it.

Also, I seem to recall some brittish television personalities looking favorably upon Thatcher...Jeremy Clarkson maybe?

Or am I making that up?

vamast said...

movies are made, it doesnt matter how they justiy the actions, just how its played out. i grewup in the deserts and am half turkish and british and have no grip on western norms.

Mimer said...

Well, not being British, I will defer to three eminent British gentlemen, namely Mr. Frankie Boyle, Mr. Stephen Fry and Mr. David Mitchell.

Mind you, I did try to find some suitably humorous clips lionizing Mrs Thatcher as a counterpart to the above, but I failed miserably.

jojjo said...

It's fun that so many talk of "destroying the country" and "going to war" when the Britain she took over was completely destitute and nearing collapse, and it was the Argentinian junta who invaded British territory. Yea, she and everyone else could have left the UK to recession and poverty, she could have left the Falklanders as subjects of corrupt dictators; would that have been better?

Peter Barlow said...

It depends. Conservatives look upon her as getting the economy back on track after Labour trashed it, but Labour and the Liberal Democrats look upon her as someone who destroyed many of the social safety nets the poor relied on and made life shitty everywhere north of the home counties.

Both are true. But no, the British right look back on her with good feelings.

Deirex said...

Don't forget that this is a woman who openly supported the apartheid regime in South Africa. I would personally put her on the same level as Hitler.

She didn't do the horrible things that the third reich was responsible for but she sure as hell wasn't against things that were just as bad.