A few weeks ago, I posed a question for the Weinsteins’ upcoming release of their Meryl Streep starring Margaret Thatcher pic: “Will The Iron Lady Go Soft on Margaret Thatcher?“
Now, after responses to an early test screening were reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, it sounds as if the answer is a big no, with the Weinsteins having to strategize around a bubbling controversy over the film’s less than flattering view of the famous conservative Prime Minister.
According to the UK tabloid, friends of Margaret Thatcher who saw the film were troubled by the way it depicted Thatcher in her elderly years. One called it “insulting.” Another said, “I didn’t come here to see a film about granny going mad,” reported the paper.
In the film, Thatcher has hallucinations, for example, that her husband, who died in 2003, is still alive.
According to French backer Pathe, the film is about “‘power and the price that is paid for power” and claims her health is “treated with sensitivity.”
But the paper suggests that the film could fuel ire among conservatives, in the way it depicts Thatcher’s relationship with her husband, her anti-union activities, and as a “warmonger,” declaring ‘Sink it!’ when ordering a British submarine to torpedo an Argentine ship during the Falklands War.
I suspect the Daily Mirror is hyping the controversy in order to sell a sensationalistic story, but conservative news outlets in the U.S. are already running with it, so whether or not the film is fair is now beside the point. The right-wing spin-machine will turn this as far as it will go, forcing the Weinsteins to either take the bait, or rise above it. Stay tuned.