Blu-ray Review: The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay | DIRECTOR: Phyllida Lloyd | CAST: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Richard E. Grant, Alexandra Roach, Olivia Colman
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 4/10/2012 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.99
BONUSES: featurettes
SPECS: PG-13 | 105 min. | Biography drama | 2.35:1 aspect ratio | 5.1 DTS-HD audio | English, Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The Iron LadyMeryl Streep (It’s Complicated) won her third acting Academy Award for biography movie The Iron Lady, and it was well deserved.

When I say Streep plays former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, I mean she transforms into her. Streep’s mannerisms, voice and look are incredible. No wonder the film also won an Oscar for its makeup design.

Indeed, stellar performances abound in this movie, also including Jim Broadbent (Another Year) as Denis Thatcher, Richard E. Grant (Love Hurts) as Michael Heseltine and Alexandra Roach in her first feature film and Harry Lloyd (TV’s Game of Thrones) as the younger couple.

But good performances alone don’t make a great film. Instead of showing Thatcher’s rise to become on the most powerful people in the world, a fascinating and strong story, The Iron Lady looks at Thatcher in her waning years, when her brilliant mind is going and she’s still seeing and talking to her now dead husband.

Thatcher’s career is shown in flashbacks, contrasting her old age with her much stronger younger years. And while that is an interesting and at times sad story, it results in a movie that drags when it’s in the present time, leaving viewers longing to get back to Maggie’s earlier life.

That said, if British history is something that interests you, do check out this film. Director Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia!) obviously has a lot of respect for her subject matter, and The Iron Lady plays like a loving tribute to a woman who rose from being the daughter of a grocer to working for her country, leading Britain and ultimately being reduced to senility.

The drama film looks good in high-definition Blu-ray, with Margaret Thatcher’s colorful suits standing out beautifully against the dark suits of the men.

The Blu-ray only has featurettes for special features, but they’re solid and good to watch, led by “The Making of The Iron Lady.” In the extra, the longest of the bunch, Streep, Phyllida Lloyd, Roach and Harry Lloyd, among others, talk about the film and its production. Phyllida Lloyd especially describes how authenticity was paramount for her and her team.

The other featurettes examine different aspects of the film. “Recreating the Young Margaret Thatcher” looks at Roach and, as Streep says, how the makeup designers had to change Roach’s cute upturned nose so it was closer to Streep’s straighter one.

Harry Lloyd talks about taking on a role that you share with the great Jim Broadbent as well as the real-life person in “Denis: The Man Behind the Woman.”

And “Battle In the House of Commons” and “Costume Designs: Pearls and Power Suits” explore how the filmmakers made sure everything was exact.

One more bonus feature looks at The Iron Lady in the company of other films about real-life subjects. It’s interesting at times, but ultimately plays like it’s promoting a library of DVD and Blu-ray titles.

Oh, and the Blu-ray/DVD Combo includes a digital copy of the movie that can be downloaded prior to April 30, 2013.

Buy or Rent The Iron Lady
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.