Since the release of the U.K. trailer for The Iron Lady two days ago, there have been no fewer than 575 articles online discussing the film, its promotion and leading lady. If you haven't already seen the clip of Meryl unveiling the movie poster in London earlier this week, you should because it's cute. Meryl (with director Phyllida Lloyd) tries to pull on a rope to reveal the huge billboard. Instead of the paper easily sliding down, the rope breaks and Meryl has to instead yank on it to show an enormous picture of her head as Thatcher.
So, what are people saying? From what I've read (and trust me I've read many articles) the opinions about Streep's performance are strongly favorable. I tend to discount reviews by those with political agenda, friends/family of Thatcher, and overall Meryl haters. Their minds were made up prior to seeing a screening of the full film or just the trailer. Interestingly enough, as a biased streepoholic I can totally understand how, based on the trailer, one might consider the performance to be campy or overacted. That thought crossed my mind as well when seeing certain clips. I wondered if it was going to be more of a caricature than an embodiment of a living person. But I know better. I've been here before with Meryl trailers. It's dangerous to gauge a performance on a 2 1/2 minute advertisement. For one to have a good sense of what Meryl really does with the character, we need to see it develop over the course of the entire film. A phrase here and there will not do it justice.
When I read critics writing that "Meryl has found the woman inside the caricature," and that her performance was "astonishing and all but flawless," I get pretty jazzed. And this is coming from British critics! Not surprisingly the reviews on the film itself are mixed, and some describe it as simply an awards vehicle for Streep. I say it's not Meryl's fault if her acting ability is overall better than a filmmaker's ability to create a great movie. Yes, it would be cool to see Meryl in a very challenging role that happens to be within a fantastic film. At this point in her career, that doesn't always match up. The role has to be there. Why would she choose to do a shitty, unchallenging role in a blockbuster? It's time for screenwriters, production companies and directors to branch out on their options. Until then, Meryl will overwhelmingly be the brightest spot in her films. Yes, that's a dare.