Monday, January 30, 2012

The Iron Lady

Meryl Streep's performance as Margaret Thatcher in the Iron Lady is certainly Oscar worthy. She is tremendous. She does not appear to be the front runner for the Oscar at this time but she did win the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama. Thatcher was the longest-serving prime minister of the 20th century and the first woman to hold the position. Her strict conservative policies, hard line against trade unions and staunch opposition to the Soviet Union earned her the nickname the "Iron Lady." The movie is informative but also delves into what it takes to be a person in power and how those around her are affected. Thatcher's husband, Denis Thatcher, is portrayed by Jim Broadbent, his performance is also strong. Seeing this movie made me realize how much I do not know about British history and that much of what I do know is from movies like the King's Speech and the Young Victoria.
The way the film was written and edited in flashbacks told from Thatcher's point of view in the present day makes for an effective story telling device. Aside from the accolades that Streep has received, the movie did not receive strong reviews and it has been reported that Thatcher's children were not pleased with the portrayal. Films depicting real historical figures are often met with controversy so that is not surprising, even expected. I thought the movie was extremely well done and very entertaining. In addition to Streep's acting nomination the movie is nominated for Best Makeup. Not a caricature or an impression, the costuming and makeup allows for Streep to disappear into the role.

And on DVD...
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It stars Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor as father and son. As the son falls in love, he reflects on his father's later life as a widower who comes out of the closet and his battle with terminal cancer. It sounds like tough subject matter but is very whimsical and has a truly unique style. It is a very sweet movie and though I have returned the DVD, I would love to watch it again and may purchase it. Plummer won the Golden Globe and the SAG and is the front runner for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Interesting Oscar movie fact, both Christopher Plummer and Goran Visnjic are both in Beginners and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

The Tree of Life
Brad Pitt is the patriarch and Jessica Chastain is the mother in a 1950s family. The film rotates back and forth between the family in the 50s to Sean Penn as one of the adult sons. I had heard much about the sequence depicting the birth of the universe. Because I had heard so much about it, it had little impact. If you have seen the trailer, you have seen the movie. The movie is 139 minutes of various images as seen in the preview, with no plot. This was a terribly boring movie. I fast forwarded and fell asleep three separate times. In the middle of the day. Pitt and Chastain both have multiple Oscar films this season, Chastain starred in seven films in 2011, including the Help. I much prefer the Help and Pitt in Moneyball, for which each received their acting nods.

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