[Marxism] Thatcher and "House of Cards"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Apr 10 10:32:57 MDT 2013

On 4/10/13 12:24 PM, Daniel Lindvall wrote:
> I think that many traditional, upper class tories resented her for
> being a lower middle class woman in a job they thought belonged to a
> man from their own background. But simultaneously they knew this was
> just the voice they needed to sell politics for the upper class to
> 35-40 percent of the lower classes (and knowing this made them resent
> her even more). This, I think, is one of the things that is rather
> well captured in the Meryl Streep film (which was better than its
> reputation). Sure, she was also an arsehole of a human being, but
> that she probably had in common with every other tory leader and most
> labour ones as well.

Interesting to  see Daniel have good words to say about "The Iron Lady". 
I thought I was the only person on the left that appreciated this film.


Scheduled for general theatrical release sometime in December (I 
reviewed a screener submitted by a publicist for the 2011 NYFCO awards 
meeting), “The Iron Lady” has all the trappings of your typical fawning 
biopic of the rich and the powerful in line with “The King’s Speech”. 
Indeed, in one scene her consultants advise her in her first run for 
Prime Minister that she has to work on her voice–it is not authoritative 
enough. She then goes to speech lessons in a scene definitely evoking 
“The King’s Speech”. With Meryl Streep playing Margaret Thatcher, I had 
additional trepidations since I expected a performance in line with her 
stilted portrayal of Julia Child.

What a pleasant surprise it was to discover that the film is a venomous 
attack on the “iron lady”. Admittedly, the politics are a bit 
unfocused—this after all is not a documentary—but the general impression 
you are left with is that the financial disaster of today is very much 
related to the policies that she and her fellow monster Ronald Reagan 
pushed through.

In one key scene, Thatcher is meeting with her cabinet to discuss a new 
tax that will be seen as favoring the rich. When her Tory advisers warn 
her that it will undermine her legitimacy, she scolds them as lacking 
backbone. The film is replete with archival footage of Britons fighting 
the cops during the period, leaving no question as to her legacy.

The film also has an almost sadistic streak as it shows Thatcher as 
entering the early stages of Alzheimer’s, with symptoms fairly obvious 
during the last year or so when she was in office, just as was the case 
with Reagan.

 From foreign policy, especially the war for control of the Malvinas, to 
domestic policy with her determination to destroy trade unions and the 
social legislation won by their party, Thatcher is seen in the light of 
the “one percenters” of today. In some ways, the film is vaguely 
reminiscent of “Citizen Kane” with Thatcher becoming more and more 
malevolent and deranged the more power she attains.

Finally, Streep is terrific. As indicated above, I am not one of her 
biggest fans but her characterization of Thatcher is not just based on 
imitating her speaking voice and hairdo. She really got inside her head 
and figured out what made her tick. It is not very pretty.

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