Meryl Streep is not Margaret Thatcher, not even in the movie. Meryl Streep is one of the great actresses of our time. Margaret Thatcher is one of the great national leaders of our time. The twain are not the same.
Not having seen the film myself, I offer this edited comment by Max Pemberton writing for the UK Telegraph.
The film ended and I sat motionless while the credits rolled. Slowly I got up and walked out into the cold January air, sickened by what I’d been party to, so acutely aware that the scenes presented as entertainment and edification – scenes I’d paid to see – were, at that very moment, possibly taking place in a grand house somewhere in central London. I had partaken of cruel, thoughtless voyeurism, the subject of which was powerless to protest at her exploitation.
Meryl Streep’s performance is mesmerising, it is impossible not to be disturbed by her depiction of Lady Thatcher’s decline into dementia. Columnists and commentators such as Charles Moore, Norman Tebbit and Douglas Hurd have opined in this newspaper and elsewhere about this distasteful approach. David Cameron has similarly questioned the morality of making the film while she is still alive. I did not expect to agree with them. But now I am even more vehement in my condemnation, because, as a doctor, I have direct experience of the reality of dementia for the sufferer and their family.
Max Pemberton’s condemnation is particularly interesting because the journalist and medical doctor hails from the left. In fact, the good doctor is a strong supporter of socialized medicine which Margaret Thatcher vehemently opposed.