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Dennis Hardin

The Iron Lady

26 posts in this topic

I saw 'The Iron Lady" last night and truly enjoyed it. Some fans of Margaret Thatcher have been very critical of the film, but for the most part, I thought the film was a fair and accurate tribute to one of the great world leaders of the 20th century..

It is a British film, not a Hollywood production, which helps to explain why Thatcher is portrayed as a strong and admirable leader despite the fact that she was an ardent conservative. Her heroic battle against the destructive power of labor unions in Britain is particularly relevant to the situation which faces the United States today, and I thought the film's treatment of this controversy was excellent. I had forgotten the intensity of the opposition she faced, not only from other members of Parliament but also the British people. The violent street demonstrations against her policies are reminiscent of those we see in parts of Europe today. Thatcher is portrayed as a brilliant, confident woman who was willing to stand alone when all those around her preferred to stick their heads in the sand. She understood that the unions were destroying the British economy and had to be stopped, whatever the cost.

The highlights of her political career are given in flashbacks from the perspective of her present struggle with dementia, which serves as a kind of subplot to the historical drama. No doubt this was a major reason that so many of her fans were not happy with the film. Despite this, I thought the filmmakers were very sympathetic to her current plight. In fact, the way her battle with dementia is depicted underscores the touching personal story of her intense love for her late husband, Denis Thatcher, and the depth of their life-long attachment. She cannot let go of him, and her dementia serves to keep his persona alive as an imaginary companion.

Early in the story, when Denis asks the young Margaret Roberts for her hand in marriage, she begs him to understand that she wants much more out of life than the role of a housewife. It struck me that this scene could have been lifted from an Ayn Rand novel. Denis accepts her for the strong, independent, ambitious woman she is, and their powerful emotional bond is sealed for life.

Meryl Streep gives one of the greatest performances by an actress I have ever seen. Not once did I ever feel that I was watching an actress portray Margaret Thatcher. Streep becomes Margaret Thatcher, down to the slightest gesture and expression. Jim Broadbent also does a fantastic job in the role of Denis Thatcher. The wondrous intimacy of their romantic interaction throughout the film reveals an essential aspect of the "Iron Lady" that most people might never have imagined.

One thing that disappointed me about the film was the scant attention devoted to Thatcher's relationship with President Ronald Reagan, and the bond they developed as two world leaders engaged in the same epic, global struggle to preserve the free world. Given the film's many, many virtues, however, I would have to say this oversight was not so glaring as it might have been otherwise.

At no point in this film did I get the sense that the filmmakers felt any need to apologize for Margaret Thatcher's greatness. Thank goodness Hollywood didn't get its grimy fingers on it.

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Meryl Streep gives one of the greatest performances by an actress I have ever seen. Not once did I ever feel that I was watching an actress portray Margaret Thatcher. Streep becomes Margaret Thatcher, down to the slightest gesture and expression.

I have always deeply admired Meryl Steep's incredible gift to become the characters she plays.

She is simply awesome. A genius in her field, one of the greatest film actresses that ever lived.

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Dennis:

Thanks for the review. I love Streep as an actress and I was a had trepidations about the dementia issue. It was "reported" in the "media" that her staff was particularly upset at the dementia treatment.

It is good to know that it had a plot purpose. I am definitely going to see it.

Angela: Agreed. A brilliant actress.

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Dennis:

Thanks for the review. I love Streep as an actress and I was a had trepidations about the dementia issue. It was "reported" in the "media" that her staff was particularly upset at the dementia treatment.

It is good to know that it had a plot purpose. I am definitely going to see it.

Adam,

Glad you found my review helpful. I have no idea whether the film's portrayal of Thatcher's dementia is factual or not. If the film distorted the truth, I would have a problem with that. But I did not feel that this aspect of the film detracted from Thatcher's greatness in any way. On the contrary, her heroic struggle to overcome her condition just makes her seem all the more admirable.

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Thatcher and Rand are my two favorite women of the 20th century.

Hell of a Ménage à trois! Imagine the conversation!

375px-CardThisIsTheLife.jpg

Which one is Maggie?

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Thatcher and Rand are my two favorite women of the 20th century.

Hell of a Ménage à trois! Imagine the conversation!

375px-CardThisIsTheLife.jpg

Which one is Maggie?

Um, who is the guy?

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Thatcher and Rand are my two favorite women of the 20th century.

Hell of a Ménage à trois! Imagine the conversation!

375px-CardThisIsTheLife.jpg

Which one is Maggie?

Um, who is the guy?

Nathanial Branden's grandfather...even then he knew!

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Thatcher and Rand are my two favorite women of the 20th century.

Hell of a Ménage à trois! Imagine the conversation!

375px-CardThisIsTheLife.jpg

Which one is Maggie?

Um, who is the guy?

Nathanial Branden's grandfather...even then he knew!

lol - too bad Rand never wanted kids. Imagine who could be running for president now!

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Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be to have Ayn Rand as your mother!?

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Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be to have Ayn Rand as your mother!?

Indeed. I picture her as a sort of Bette Davis (who would have been perfect casting as Rand if the times had jibed)/Mommie dearest type. but who knows, she might have been a distracted babushka type. And there would have been Frank.

The children of the great have a pretty bad time anyway, if they were wanted or not. Evelyn Waugh for example was a horrible father, abusive and negligent by turns, his son Auberon inherited his talent however and was an excellent writer, though not the novelist his father was. The mother appears to have been a complete doormat.

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Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be to have Ayn Rand as your mother!?

Being rational she would have put you up for adoption. Are you saying she wouldn't and should be condemned even though, after all, she never had children?

--Brant

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Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be to have Ayn Rand as your mother!?

Being rational she would have put you up for adoption. Are you saying she wouldn't and should be condemned even though, after all, she never had children?

--Brant

Brant:

Actually, I was positing her difficulty at parenting based on the rigidity of her personality and her difficulties with her mother. Essentially, "psychologizing" which has no real basis in reality.

Adam

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Meanwhile, back at the movies. . .

From another review of The Iron Lady by an Objectivist (Scott Holleran):

In a culture that fetishizes powerful women instead of admiring them for themselves and their achievements, The Iron Lady stands out as a well-crafted tale of a woman who merely steps in to run things because no one else is really up to the job. Another forceful mind in history, Ayn Rand, once wrote unfavorably about the issue of a woman president and, seeing The Iron Lady, one is reminded why. Throughout modern history, from Catherine the Great to Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the toll such power takes is clear and director Phyllida Lloyd, with writer Abi Morgan, deftly suggests that what moves Margaret Thatcher is looking up to man, not looking down upon men.

Can't wait to hear Daunce's comments on that.

Here's Miss Rand's explanation as to why a rational woman would not want to be president.

For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship—the desire to look up to man. “To look up” does not mean dependence, obedience or anything implying inferiority. It means an intense kind of admiration; and admiration is an emotion that can be experienced only by a person of strong character and independent value-judgments. A “clinging vine” type of woman is not an admirer, but an exploiter of men. Hero-worship is a demanding virtue: a woman has to be worthy of it and of the hero she worships. Intellectually and morally, i.e., as a human being, she has to be his equal; then the object of her worship is specifically his masculinity, not any human virtue she might lack.

"An Answer to Readers (About a Woman President),” The Objectivist, Dec. 1968

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Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be to have Ayn Rand as your mother!?

Being rational she would have put you up for adoption. Are you saying she wouldn't and should be condemned even though, after all, she never had children?

--Brant

Rand about having children:

Quote from the above:

"When you bring children into the world, you sacrifice your own sovereignty, and become a means to an end: the end, the primary concern of the children." (Ayn Rand)

From this it can be inferred that Rand regarded parenthood as irrational and 'altruistic'.

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Meanwhile, back at the movies. . .

From another review of The Iron Lady by an Objectivist (Scott Holleran):

In a culture that fetishizes powerful women instead of admiring them for themselves and their achievements, The Iron Lady stands out as a well-crafted tale of a woman who merely steps in to run things because no one else is really up to the job. Another forceful mind in history, Ayn Rand, once wrote unfavorably about the issue of a woman president and, seeing The Iron Lady, one is reminded why. Throughout modern history, from Catherine the Great to Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the toll such power takes is clear and director Phyllida Lloyd, with writer Abi Morgan, deftly suggests that what moves Margaret Thatcher is looking up to man, not looking down upon men.

Can't wait to hear Daunce's comments on that.

Delighted. Compare/contrast Rand and Thatcher is a really interesting exercise. I think the movie reviewer got it right. Thatcher and Rand both identified heroism with masculinity. The big difference was that Thatcher early found her heroes in realworld men, most importantly her father whom she loved and admired. He was the independent businessman of the "nation of shopkeepers" she came to champion.She had living and historical political heroes such as Churchill to look up to. She found a husband she could both love and admire, and a deeply fulfilling marriage to sustain her in her work. She approached men as equals, although she recognized that many of them were not her equal - and those she did indeed look down on.

Rand 's early heroes were fictional and she could not admire her father. Her whole life was in part a search for a man who could put flesh on the spirit of Hugo's heroic creations, and her own. She had an intense need to worship that hero, not realizing that heroism has no gender. She could not be her own hero, as Thatcher could.

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Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be to have Ayn Rand as your mother!?
Being rational she would have put you up for adoption. Are you saying she wouldn't and should be condemned even though, after all, she never had children? --Brant
Rand about having children:
Quote from the above: "When you bring children into the world, you sacrifice your own sovereignty, and become a means to an end: the end, the primary concern of the children." (Ayn Rand) From this it can be inferred that Rand regarded parenthood as irrational and 'altruistic'.

Right on cue. You are insistently, persistently, consistent - at least. :cool:

What fun you'd have had if Rand had prescribed Objectivists'duty as "to go forth and multiply!" to spread her philosophy.

No, it cannot be inferred that the child-hating witch "regarded parenthood as altruistic".

The obverse of egoism is not *always* altruism.

Last time you posted this, I said I thought she went over the top, and was wrong. Still, however, it isn't easy for both parents building lives and professions while child caring.

Something 'has to give'- and it shouldn't be the child.

If one gives her statements a sympathetic reading, one may see that she implies the sort of intensely dedicated upbringing she felt a child deserves - who needs full attention - as a sub-text.

Not the casual type of thing of having children for one's religion, status/self-esteem, or patching up a rocky marriage, or 'biological destiny'- no matter how financially unstable or neurotic, are the parents.

Let alone: to give birth specifically for the State child grant, which is happening with thousands of single mother school-girls in my country.

It is stunning to discover the real rationale (or none) many people bring children into the world.

I think she made a simple warning to youngsters : Look before you leap.

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Meanwhile, back at the movies. . .

From another review of The Iron Lady by an Objectivist (Scott Holleran):

In a culture that fetishizes powerful women instead of admiring them for themselves and their achievements, The Iron Lady stands out as a well-crafted tale of a woman who merely steps in to run things because no one else is really up to the job. Another forceful mind in history, Ayn Rand, once wrote unfavorably about the issue of a woman president and, seeing The Iron Lady, one is reminded why. Throughout modern history, from Catherine the Great to Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the toll such power takes is clear and director Phyllida Lloyd, with writer Abi Morgan, deftly suggests that what moves Margaret Thatcher is looking up to man, not looking down upon men.

Can't wait to hear Daunce's comments on that.

Delighted. Compare/contrast Rand and Thatcher is a really interesting exercise. I think the movie reviewer got it right. Thatcher and Rand both identified heroism with masculinity. The big difference was that Thatcher early found her heroes in realworld men, most importantly her father whom she loved and admired. He was the independent businessman of the "nation of shopkeepers" she came to champion.She had living and historical political heroes such as Churchill to look up to. She found a husband she could both love and admire, and a deeply fulfilling marriage to sustain her in her work. She approached men as equals, although she recognized that many of them were not her equal - and those she did indeed look down on.

Rand 's early heroes were fictional and she could not admire her father. Her whole life was in part a search for a man who could put flesh on the spirit of Hugo's heroic creations, and her own. She had an intense need to worship that hero, not realizing that heroism has no gender. She could not be her own hero, as Thatcher could.

Thanks, Daunce.

The reviewer seems to disagree with you about Thatcher, suggesting that the reason she is depicted as holding on to the delusional presence of her late husband had directly to do with the “price” a woman pays for holding power over men. The reviewer thinks the use of this particular plot device in the film suggests that Rand was right about the psychology of women in general. Thatcher’s sense of her own femininity suffered because she also felt that heroism was, from a psycho-sexual perspective, gender-based.

BTW, according to Anne Heller, Ayn also admired her father, and even wrote about him as Kira’s Uncle Vasili in We, The Living. She also thought he was quite handsome. It’s possible that her father may be one reason she always romanticized men in the way she did. Her father also admired his daughter’s intelligence and independence. It was Rand’s mother that she disliked.

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I saw the movie this afternoon. Ms. Streep is an outstanding actress. In some magical way she -becomes- the character she is playing. I looked for signs of Streep underneath the makeup and found very few.

The movie was quite sad. It showed M. Thatcher in a state of mental and physical decline. This hit pretty close to me. I am 76 and one of my concerns is staying mentally fit. Seeing Thatcher in a state of incipient senility got to me a bit.

Jim Broadbent is also a wonderful actor. He portrayed Dennis Thatcher in a very warm moving manner. Apparently Margret was truly in love with her husband until the end (he died of cancer) and as the picture showed it even somewhat after the end.

The scenes where Thatcher was managing the Falkland Island war were quite stirring. The scene where she ordered the sinking of the Belgranno was quite stirring. She had more and bigger balls than some of her male cabinet associates.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Meanwhile, back at the movies. . .

From another review of The Iron Lady by an Objectivist (Scott Holleran):

In a culture that fetishizes powerful women instead of admiring them for themselves and their achievements, The Iron Lady stands out as a well-crafted tale of a woman who merely steps in to run things because no one else is really up to the job. Another forceful mind in history, Ayn Rand, once wrote unfavorably about the issue of a woman president and, seeing The Iron Lady, one is reminded why. Throughout modern history, from Catherine the Great to Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the toll such power takes is clear and director Phyllida Lloyd, with writer Abi Morgan, deftly suggests that what moves Margaret Thatcher is looking up to man, not looking down upon men.

Can't wait to hear Daunce's comments on that.

Delighted. Compare/contrast Rand and Thatcher is a really interesting exercise. I think the movie reviewer got it right. Thatcher and Rand both identified heroism with masculinity. The big difference was that Thatcher early found her heroes in realworld men, most importantly her father whom she loved and admired. He was the independent businessman of the "nation of shopkeepers" she came to champion.She had living and historical political heroes such as Churchill to look up to. She found a husband she could both love and admire, and a deeply fulfilling marriage to sustain her in her work. She approached men as equals, although she recognized that many of them were not her equal - and those she did indeed look down on.

Rand 's early heroes were fictional and she could not admire her father. Her whole life was in part a search for a man who could put flesh on the spirit of Hugo's heroic creations, and her own. She had an intense need to worship that hero, not realizing that heroism has no gender. She could not be her own hero, as Thatcher could.

Thanks, Daunce.

The reviewer seems to disagree with you about Thatcher, suggesting that the reason she is depicted as holding on to the delusional presence of her late husband had directly to do with the “price” a woman pays for holding power over men. The reviewer thinks the use of this particular plot device in the film suggests that Rand was right about the psychology of women in general. Thatcher’s sense of her own femininity suffered because she also felt that heroism was, from a psycho-sexual perspective, gender-based.

BTW, according to Anne Heller, Ayn also admired her father, and even wrote about him as Kira’s Uncle Vasili in We, The Living. She also thought he was quite handsome. It’s possible that her father may be one reason she always romanticized men in the way she did. Her father also admired his daughter’s intelligence and independence. It was Rand’s mother that she disliked.

Thanks for the corrections, Dennis. Not having seen the movie, I obviously just went with my own impressions of the two women and my facts were wrong (I have not read Heller either). I had the idea that her father disappointed her because he could not "save" the family from the devastations of the Bolsheviks; that he could not be a hero to her. I did know that she did not care for her mother.

Thatcher may well have seen herself as "doing a man's job" because there were no capable men to do it; but do you think she would have yielded place in her political career to a man, even one of abilities equal to hers, just because he was a man? She certainly paid a heavy emotional price for her success, yet she demonstrated the heroism in women, though she may not have believed in it herself.

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.Thatcher may well have seen herself as "doing a man's job" because there were no capable men to do it; but do you think she would have yielded place in her political career to a man, even one of abilities equal to hers, just because he was a man?

No way. I think this reviewer (Scott Holleran) is way off base to suggest that Thatcher only wanted to be Prime Minister because there were no men who were up to the task. There is an early scene in the film in which Margaret Roberts tells her fiance (Denis Thatcher) that she will never accept the role of a housewife, that she wants so much more than that. If that scene is anywhere close to being historically accurate, it shows clearly that Thatcher believed it was entirely appropriate for a woman to be in a position of power. She begins her political career when she is quite young, and clearly despises any suggestion that, as a woman, she should ever have to be satisfied with a supporting role.

I think Holleran was just trying to shoe-horn this interesting aspect of the movie into Randian dogma, without any real basis for doing so.

She certainly paid a heavy emotional price for her success, yet she demonstrated the heroism in women, though she may not have believed in it herself.

I think it’s interesting that both Thatcher and Reagan experienced severe symptoms of mental degeneration in their later years. Both were exceptionally strong leaders, yet spend their final years in a state of significant detachment from reality—as if the real world began to overwhelm each of them at some point. I’m not really claiming a causal connection here, but there’s a synchronicity that seems intriguing.

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I think it’s interesting that both Thatcher and Reagan experienced severe symptoms of mental degeneration in their later years. Both were exceptionally strong leaders, yet spend their final years in a state of significant detachment from reality—as if the real world began to overwhelm each of them at some point. I’m not really claiming a causal connection here, but there’s a synchronicity that seems intriguing.

perhaps, if one lives long enough, his brains will rot out.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I think it’s interesting that both Thatcher and Reagan experienced severe symptoms of mental degeneration in their later years. Both were exceptionally strong leaders, yet spend their final years in a state of significant detachment from reality—as if the real world began to overwhelm each of them at some point. I’m not really claiming a causal connection here, but there’s a synchronicity that seems intriguing.

perhaps, if one lives long enough, his brains will rot out.

Ba'al Chatzaf

There doesn't appear to be any necessary connection between age and mental deterioration. Bertrand Russell remained lucid until his death at age 97.

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There doesn't appear to be any necessary connection between age and mental deterioration. Bertrand Russell remained lucid until his death at age 97.

It is true that mental deterioration of the Alzheimer type does not necessarily strike everybody of old age; but when it occurs, it is almost always those of advanced age that are affected (there exists an early-onset form that can start as early as in the thirties, but it is very rare).

About one in three people over eighty has Alzheimer's.

The growing number of cases is correlated with increasing life expectancy:

http://www.ahaf.org/...ding/facts.html

Worldwide, nearly 36 million people are believed to be living with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. That number is projected to increase to 65.7 million by 2030 and 115.4 million by 2050.

<...>

Approximately 5.1 million Americans are age 85 years or older, and this age group is one of the fastest growing segments of the population. It is also the group with the highest risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that at least 19 million people will be age 85 and older by the year 2050.

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