|$||70.5M||Star Trek Into Darkness|
|$||35.1M||Iron Man 3|
|$||23.4M||The Great Gatsby (2013)|
|$||3.1M||Pain & Gain|
|As of May 19, 2013|
First, let's commence with a measure historical perspective regarding Margaret Thatcher, Britain's longest reigning and only 20th century female Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street. Born on the 13 October 1925, Margaret Hilda Roberts grew up working for her family grocer business. She later attended school at Oxford University (where she became president of the student conservative movement) after which she worked as a chemist and then attended law school. Roberts became a barrister (high court advocate) and went on to marry a businessman, Denis Thatcher (the older version is played by Jim Broadbent or Professor Horace Slughorn for you Harry Potter maniacs and the young Denis is portrayed by Harry Lloyd). In 1953 the couple gave life to twins, Mark and Carol. In October of 1959 her political career finally became more than a campaign, it became a reality. Thatcher represented Finchley. In Parliament as an MP, she worked in pensions and in sundry (treasury, insurance, etc) other departments until her career in politics gained momentum. In 1970 she became the secretary of education in Parliament. By 1973 she felt confident enough in her own positions and abilities to challenge for the leadership of her part. By 1974 Thatcher had wrested control away from Edward Heath. In 1979 the British people elected her the first female Prime Minister, a post at which she would serve until 1990 when she resigned in favor of John Major. Thatcher came to power in the midst of nationwide strikes by the Trade Union. Everything seemed to be going to hell in a hand basket. It took some years for the economic crises to be abated.
Covered in the early years of The Iron Lady are Margaret's days as a blossoming feminist, her then boyfriend's marriage proposal, her father's grocery store apparatus, and her strong-willed proclivity for conservatism. For those of you unfamiliar with what conservatism means I suggest you read Barry Goldwater's diamond in the rough The Conscience of a Conservative. If not, allow me to explain:
Conservatism has been demonized by the American left and by European socialists as the party of implicitly backward retrospection. Conservatism is just the opposite, while progressivism (though the word implies progress in and of itself) is nothing more than socialism with a fancy alternate title. The very nature of socialism implies a form of togetherness or mutual cooperation. The government will assume the mantle of providing "free" health care, retirement, schooling, vacations, and infrastructure in exchange for a tax that of at least 50% that sometimes creeps toward 90%. Wage earners have no choice but to surrender the majority of their income to the government for the exact same access as someone with no income or a significantly smaller income (those in political office are traditionally excluded from such Plebeian arrangements). This makes it nearly impossible for people to spend their own money in a manner they deem appropriate. The government essentially controls peoples' lives in an orderly fashion. Does this benefit all citizens living under socialism and isn't it nice to have a failsafe just in case? That is not a question for me to answer. Some people prefer not to have to fend for themselves or prepare for their own financial well being. Some people also would rather allow their income to be redistributed to others because it is the "right" thing to do. These individuals do not care an iota if their neighbor(s) prefer to spend their own money in a manner of their own choosing, because people that would blindly give away their own money to a government do not give one thought to whether or not anyone else objects. That is the danger and the power of socialism or collective thought.
Conservatism preaches free market unfettered capitalism teamed with individual responsibility. If a worker chooses to work for a company they must save their money and not rely on said organization to provide their breakfast, lunch, dinner, healthcare, retirement and never-ending employ. It is up to the individual to make their own way in the world without a "nanny" state watching, controlling and safeguarding their every movement. Success comes in many forms to be sure, but to encourage success one cannot tell their student, "oh if you score an F not to worry you will still be in the same class as the A+ student". This sort of kowtowing to idiocy will lead to the A student stopping their march toward progress because it doesn't mean anything if they will be regarded the same as an F student and protected no matter what. Why bother? This simple example applies toward society. The philosophy of conservatism as outlined by Ayn Rand and by Barry Goldwater became the bedrock for both Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher's political doctrines. If the United States would offer foreign companies a 15% corporate tax rate they would theoretically flood this country in droves and create tens of thousands of jobs (The United States' current corporate tax rate is the highest in the entire world). That would empower corporations though which are the friend of the conservative and the arch enemy of the socialist. One empowers capitalism and the other gets in the way of the socialist platform. Squeeze out the corporations and leave the government to be the sole survivor as it would dictate the terms of businesses expansion or reduction.
One final word on conservatism; the conservatives throughout the late twentieth century have mostly been war hawks. Thatcher and Reagan believed in leading from a position of strength. Show the world we will fight anyone that challenges us, attack any terrorist, and lead the world in military power. Their platform (paraphrased) seemed to be that only from a position of strength and dominance can we assure peace. Margaret Thatcher understood this philosophy and applied it to the Falkland Islands crisis and to the IRA's bloody tactics. In 1984 during the Miner's Union strike, at the conservative party conference, the IRA attempted to blow up the Prime Minister but she survived. Incidents like this did not cause her to fold, they strengthened the resolve of the "Iron Lady". This concludes our painfully brief historical outline of Thatcher's career.
Much like many recent and arguably extraordinary films, Director Lloyd helps The Iron Lady to be a retrospective picture. We are privy to an elderly Margaret losing her grip on reality. She hallucinates the likeness of her deceased husband and relies on him for advice and for steadfastness. Houseguests including her daughter trigger lucid memories of her youth, political career, family life, brushes with death, and other experiences that defined her life. Although Thatcher is frequently painted as a refractory conservative hawk, her positives are equally as noticeable. Her reliance on conservative principles is made very clear and cogent. The former Prime Minister is portrayed as a strong-willed, powerful woman of great character and resolve. For this I applaud the entire production company, cast, crew and even the makeup artists.
Oh my, Meryl Streep looks like and sounds identical to the real Margaret Thatcher. Inherently, a two page review will never do this film justice just as it will barely skim the surface of all things Britain and Margaret Thatcher. My role is to provide some background for viewers to better understand the film and its references. I wish I had done a better job frankly. The Iron Lady has become a globally scrutinized film of great repute that has launched a thousand discourses across countries and cultures and political divides.
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