‘The Iron Lady’: What Meryl Streep and Co. Got Wrong About Margaret Thatcher
Meryl Streep, left, and Margaret Thatcher (Photo: Weinstein Company/Getty Images)
Actor Nicholas Farrell, left, portrayed Airey Neave in 'The Iron Lady' (Photo: Weinstein Company/Getty Images)
That could be seen as artistic license, but some likely filmmaking oversights in the Neave assassination sequence include the fact that his Vauxhall Cavalier was blue, not red (and not the 1981 model that appears in the film). A 21st century-designed CCTV camera is also briefly visible in the garage where Neave's car is parked. Those did not exist in 1979.
Speaking of cars, a shot from Westminster Bridge of the Houses of Parliament shows an automobile with brake lights about a decade too modern for its depicted '80s setting.
A key Thatcher biographer -- whose book inspired "The Iron Lady" screenplay and who worked as a consultant on the film and even appeared in it -- spoke out against the cinematic version … of his own work. Thatcher biographer John Campbell complained that the film overly abbreviated history, also saying that it minimized the role of men surrounding the late Thatcher. "Instead, it suggests that it was just her that brought the Soviet Union down," Campbell argued, saying the film unfairly made other key politicians who worked closely with Thatcher look weak and ineffective -- when they weren't.
No men are seen in pans of Parliament in 'The Iron Lady' (Photo: Weinstein Company)
Streep's lauded performance itself was criticized by someone who worked very closely with Britain's first female prime minister. Former Conservative Party chairman Norman Tebbit contended that Streep completely failed to remind him of Thatcher. "She was never, in my experience, the half-hysterical, over-emotional, over-acting woman portrayed by Meryl Streep," he wrote as "The Iron Lady" prepared to open in theaters.