To watch the film “The Iron Lady” is like trying to learn about a person from a list.

Grocer’s daughter, check. Politician, check. Anti Thatcher demonstrations, check. Falklands war, check. Going to celebrate the fall of the Iron curtain, check.

For anyone not aware of the history of the 1970’s and 1980’s, the quick scenes depicting some of history’s most momentous changes without any context is bewildering. The screenwriters, instead of spending another 30 seconds to explain the context and importance of her decisions, instead quickly flip back to another scene of an elderly Mrs. Thatcher talking to her dead husband.

In short, the screenplay is poorly written because it can’t decide what story it is telling (the love story of two people? The personal grit of a woman who changed the world?)

We see the demonstrations (which, by the way, were much worse than shown, and seem to echo the recent union demonstrations in Wisconsin) and talk of economic problem, but unless you watch carefully you won’t notice the economy improved with her reforms.

Unless one lived during this era, one might not be aware that Mrs. Thatcher was ridiculed and belittled by the left in a way reminiscent of Sarah Palin, something that was only hinted at by a quick scene in the movie.

And there is a fast scene where Mrs. Thatcher is going to a celebration of the fall of the Iron Curtain instead of campaigning, (which turned out to be a political mistake),  but not any mention on how her policies helped to give freedom to a large portion of the world by supporting Ronald Reagan, nor any mention that she was opposed in this by huge demonstrations and ridicule by the intellectual elites of Europe and the UK.

Come to think of it, there isn’t any mention of Ronald Reagan at all in the movie.

The film only hints that the reason for her being thrown out of office was opposition to the UK’s currency being linked to that of Europe (something that seems prophetic given the present day monetary problems of Europe).

So yes, for those of us familiar with what was going on in those days, the story can be followed…barely. For others, they will have to read the book to try to figure out what is going on.

On a personal level, the love story is touching, but also suffers from the lack of continuity of the story, flitting back and forth in their relationship. There are short vignettes showing them holding hands at the opera while courting, and as an elderly couple sleeping together in the same bed, but no scenes showing what went into this long and loving relationship.

Finally, medically it is also slightly inaccurate. Yes, Mrs. Thatcher here seems to have a problem in short term memory that suggests early Alzheimer’s disease, but someone needs to tell the screenwriters (and critics) that talking to her dead husband is not a sign of senility: a British Medical Journal report shows that half of widows/widowers admit to seeing or feeling the presence of a recently dead spouse, and that it is not a sign of mental illness or Alzheimer’s disease, but a “common accommodation of normal bereavement”.

I should say that Meryl Streep does an excellent job in acting for the film, and her performance is worth watching.

However, as a whole, the disjointed screenplay makes the film a disappointment.

I give it a three stars out of five.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician old enough to remember when Mrs. Thatcher was called the “milk snatcher”.

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