A new film that seeks to portray the life of Lady Margaret Thatcher has a fair amount of people hot under the collar. Directed by Mamma Mia! director, Phyllida Lloyd, the film shows Lady Thatcher constantly hallucinating, under the impression that her husband, who died in 2003, is still alive, while she herself appears to be going senile.
Friends and viewers were invited to an early screening of the film, The Iron Lady, this past Saturday. It stars Meryl Streep as the former prime minister and Jim Broadbent as Sir Denis.
Despite having a great cast, it appears it’s not OK to make up strange fictions about the former prime minister.
Friends of Thatcher are apparently aghast at the way the film ridicules her frail condition in recent years.
One called it “insulting”. Another said: “I didn’t come here to see a film about a granny going mad.”
The film also shows her having nightmares about the miners’ strike and the Falklands War, while her late husband Denis appears as a ghost in a pink turban raging at her for her “insufferable” selfishness.
It seems the filmmakers did the right thing by holding this screening to test audience reactions ahead of the reported January 2012 release.
The Thatcher’s had a wonderfully close marriage and Sir Denis was always known as a man who would never leave his wife’s side, even in the toughest of circumstances.
The film seems to challenge this union at times, and when she tells him she is running for the Tory leadership in 1974, he calls her “insufferable” for putting her “ambition before me and the children.”
Supposedly the film is full of flaws regarding the Falklands War, the bombing of Brighton’s Grand Hotel in 1984 and the murder of Lady Thatcher’s friend, Tory MP Airey Neave, at the Commons in 1979.
As her mother’s health worsens, Carol, Thatcher’s daughter, is said to deliver a spontaneous attack on her mothers health:
You’re not Prime Minister any more, Mark lives in South Africa and Denis is dead.
Conservative MP Conor Burns, one of her closest confidants:
Any portrayal of Margaret Thatcher that does not show her as one of the titans of British politics in the 20th Century will be a travesty. The idea that Denis would ever have been cruel to her is twisted and untrue. They were devoted.
In recent times, the former prime minister has been forced to give up public appearances because of a series of strokes and was reportedly too ill to attend the unveiling of a statue of her political ally Ronald Reagan in London last month.
So far the filmmakers have not passed comment. Dignity seems to be a word that comes to mind, however.
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