London’s Daily Mail reported on a screening of the forthcoming Meryl Streep film The Iron Lady about Margaret Thatcher: “At the end of the film, Lady Thatcher walks around her home in a feverish state, driven mad by nightmares about her record in office.”
“Friends of Margaret Thatcher last night expressed their revulsion,” reported the Mail, saying the film “shows her having nightmares about the miners' strike and the Falklands War, while her late husband Denis appears as a ghost in a pink turban raging at her ‘insufferable’ selfishness.”
Viewers invited to an early screening of the film, The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep as the former Prime Minister and Jim Broadbent as Sir Denis, were aghast at the way that it mocks her frail condition in recent years. One called it "insulting." Another said: "I didn't come here to see a film about granny going mad."
Friends resented the timing of the film, scheduled for January. Due to a series of strokes, Thatcher has given up public appearances, even the unveiling of a Ronald Reagan statue in London last month. For Americans, this may recall the CBS miniseries The Reagans, which groups like the Media Research Center protested in 2003 for its sleazy inaccuracies (only a fraction of which were then public, like Reagan saying people deserved to die of AIDS) at a time when Reagan was months from his death. CBS decided not to broadcast it, and it aired on Showtime instead.
The Mail said one viewer described how Thatcher's victories were overlooked:
Her triumphs, such as the sale of council homes and the Eighties boom, are largely omitted. The taming of union barons is seen only through a contentious presentation of her defeat of miners' leader Arthur Scargill in the 1984-5 strike. And she is portrayed as a warmonger in her biggest foreign policy victory, the Falklands War, declaring “Sink it!” when ordering a British submarine to torpedo the Argentine ship the General Belgrano.
The newspaper did say that Pathe, the film group organizing the screening, did have a statement about the movie, that it is about "power and the price that is paid for power" and claims the prime minister's health is "'treated with sensitivity.' It concedes the film is fiction but says it is 'fair and accurate'."