A few weeks ago, I went to see "The Iron Lady," starring Meryl Streep as the incomparable Margaret Thatcher. The movie is OK; not the greatest artistic vision of all time, but fine. It dwells too long on Thatcher's declining years and dementia and doesn't spend more than a few seconds showing how her conservative economic and tough foreign policies were later vindicated by a roaring British comeback. But the film also ably chronicles her rise to power and much of her tenure as Prime Minister as well as her lovely relationship with her husband Dennis.
The standout performance is, of course, Meryl Streep's. As with all of her roles, she simply became Thatcher. Watching her, you lose sight of Streep and get lost in the Iron Lady. It's quite simply a brilliant performance, for which she has won the Golden Globe and the Acadamy Award.
In both of her acceptance speeches, Streep was engaging and amusing, thanking everyone from her husband to the director and crew to her hair and makeup guys. She did not, however, thank the one person who was responsible for her standing on those stages, clutching those statuettes.
She did not thank Margaret Thatcher.
Streep is a famous leftwinger, so no one expected her to give a shout-out to Thatcher's successful policies. But a word or two for the woman who inspired her award-winning role would have been the classy and correct thing to do (after all, Thatcher is still alive and was probably watching last night).
Streep wouldn't do it. Or worse, she never thought about it. If Streep had won for playing, say, Eleanor Roosevelt or Madame Mao or Jackie Kennedy or Hillary Clinton, you KNOW she would have given THAT particular woman big thanks for the inspiration. But Thatcher, the great conservative leader, got nothing.
You would think that after playing a woman with such grace and class, Streep would have picked up a bit of those things. I suppose "Method Acting" only goes so far.