Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Trailerspotting handbags The Iron Lady

We’re not really giving it a handbagging. We’re merely expressing a few reservations. Look, I understand that it’s outrageous to offer any meaningful assessment of an upcoming project on the basis of a teaser trailer. But I am, nonetheless, going …

Sun, Jul 10, 2011, 22:31

   

We’re not really giving it a handbagging. We’re merely expressing a few reservations. Look, I understand that it’s outrageous to offer any meaningful assessment of an upcoming project on the basis of a teaser trailer. But I am, nonetheless, going to go even further than that. I’m going to criticise one insignificant gesture. The subject under discussion is Phyllida Lloyd’s impending The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep as the titular Prime Minister. Here’s that teaser:

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Roger Allam turns up as Gordon Reece, the PR wonk who honed that fearsome image, giving Mrs Thatcher a few tips on how to deport herself. Nicholas Farrell — uncredited so far, but surely playing a version of Tim Bell — offers supplemental advice from the sidelines. While the music from (of all things) Moon plays in the background, they discuss hats, pearls and vocal pitch. Then Thatcher speaks.

It hardly needs to be said that Streep has the voice down to a (hem, hem) Mrs T. There’s just the right hint of vague, midlands-based social mobility. She’s not quite posh. But she’s certainly not working-class. Ms Streep looks a little bit too glossy and well-fed, but we can’t blame her for being raised in a wealthier, less rationed nation than wartime Britain. After all, Streep didn’t look much like a concentration camp inmate in Sophie’s Choice either.

The problem for me comes at 42″ with that wry, ironic smirk. If we know anything about Mrs Thatcher it is that she has almost no sense of humour and that she was about as home to irony as she was to militant Trotskyism. The implication is that she finds the creation of La Thatcher a bit of a lark. No first-hand accounts of the grocer’s daughter suggest that any such levity would be forthcoming.

Still, as I say, it is madly unfair to draw any serious conclusions from this wee clip. We’ll have to wait to stupid January to see the completed project. If Streep doesn’t get an Oscar nomination I’ll eat a bucket of sand.