Love her or loathe her, Margaret Thatcher certainly had the most profound impact on British politics during the post-World War II era. Alan Byron’s documentary offers an extensive view of Thatcher’s life and the effects of her policies during her 1979-1990 administration as Prime Minister.
For many Americans, the film’s most interesting footage would involve television interviews conducted with Thatcher during the years when she made a slow but steady ascension through the Conservative Party ranks – one interview, conducted with her young twins present, showed her deftness at balancing the image of a serious politician and a caring mother. A number of British journalists weigh in on Thatcher’s career trajectory, albeit with occasional jabs of sour humor. (One wag gives the impression that Thatcher’s business executive husband Denis merely served as a sugar daddy to finance her political ambitions, while another coyly insinuates that Thatcher was not above using feminine guiles to influence the men who ran British politics.)
The film provides an objective cataloging of Thatcher’s socioeconomic and foreign policy achievements, with the British victory in the Falklands War as her crowning glory. Ultimately, the Thatcher that emerges here is a complex force of energy whose work continues to impact British society – and, quite frankly, the real deal was infinitely more mesmerizing than Meryl Streep’s Oscar-winning imitation.