Margaret (2009) Lindsay Duncan, John Sessions, Kevin McNally, Robert Hardy, James Fox, Oliver Cotton Movie Review

Margaret (2009)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Lindsay Duncan as Margaret Thatcher in Margaret (2009)

Thatcher's Troubles

A look at the political career of Margaret Thatcher focussing on her final years in power as Prime Minister but also covering the pivotal earlier moments from deciding to run for Prime Minister to how it affected her family.

I apologise for that one sentence synopsis but in truth that is all that is needed to cover what this movie is about especially seeing that just two years later we had Meryl Streep starring in "The Iron Lady". And that is now this movie's major problem because whilst the main focus of "Margaret" is more on the machinations going on to oust Thatcher by those who once supported her it all ends up comparable to the later movie when watched now and constantly comes off second best despite being good.

But of course that wasn't an issue back in 2009 when "Margaret" was made and even now it comes across as a very good drama. It manages to do a good job of taking us through Margaret Thatcher's last days as Prime Minister whilst injecting just enough back story so we get to see her rise to power such as a scene where her PR agent advised her on how to come across on TV, softening her voice. In fact when it comes to those final days in power it does a good job of showing those back rooms dealings and how the tide turned with those she trusted now advising her to stand down. And as such we see how it angered Thatcher that the men she managed had mutinied against her to the point she even seemed irrational when the end became inevitable.

That brings me to the casting of Lindsay Duncan as Margaret Thatcher and whilst there are some visual differences the spirit she delivers in her characterisation is spot on. There is something quite mesmerising about her performance especially in the scenes which focus on her final days and she has that aspect of irrationality creeping in when the inevitability of her having to resign is unavoidable. But Duncan is surrounded by other good performances and John Sessions is especially good as Geoffrey Howe.

What this all boils down to is that "Margaret" is still a fascinating drama about Margaret Thatcher's last days in power. But it is now sadly always going to play second fiddle to "The Iron Lady" despite still being a good drama.