The Iron Lady (2011) PG-13

A convincing performance by Meryl Streep.  She is an impressive character actor seems to have no end to her ability to adopt an accent.  She spent months studying Margaret Thatcher’s speech and mannerisms while preparing for the role.  She pulls off the gravity and yet likability of this very influential woman to whom even Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev paid deference.  Although some might object to her portrayal as a feeble old woman suffering from dementia, her flashbacks are a useful theatrical device to portray an overview of her life.  The PG-13 rating is mostly due to violent scenes from newsreels.  There is very little profanity or other objectionable content in the film.  In order to use this with history students, a good deal of back-story would have to be provided because the film assumes that it is viewed by an adult audience who lived through these events and is already very familiar with them.  There are some minor historical inaccuracies mostly having to do with vehicles or other items that were used in the film that are not from the right year.  The most noticeable error is when Thatcher refers to the EEC as the European Union, a name which not used until 1993.  More importantly, Margaret Thatcher was not in the vicinity the Palace of Westminster when Airey Neave was assassinated by an INLA car bomb.  Finally, Thatcher is depicted as the only woman in Parliament, when there were no fewer than 66 when she retired.  All in all, no harm can come from showing this film to students, though I doubt that it would hold their interest if shown in its entirety.

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