Saturday, 25 February 2012

A Pinoy In The Movies: The Iron Lady

I wondered why CGV in Yongsan didn't carry The Iron Lady this week when it's supposed to be the best time to show it. It's the week before the Oscars!

That's why I had to hurry down to Landcinema instead. It's far, but I had no choice. I just had to watch The Iron Lady and learn a few years of British history. Margaret Thatcher was always on the news when I was still at school. Now that I'm done with school, she's no longer in the news but in the movies!

Sitting there at the spacious Landcinema Hall #8 (with my popcorn, Coke and about 40 moviegoers...only!), the film reminded me of events discussed in the classroom and on television. From the IRA bombings to the miners' strikes that almost crippled the British economy and to the war at the Falklands, the whole movie was a lecture on the British history and economy as well as the most brilliant performance of an actor in years. Not even Viola Davis (another favorite to win the best actress at the 2012 Oscars) can match what I think is a performance people will talk about until the 2013 Oscars.

We are all used to Meryl Streep's roles where she adopts an accent, perfect a language and immediately disappears into her character. And sometimes, her unfortunate co-stars would just pale at her brilliance, making us forget the rest of the cast (and they would just say it was an honor working with her).

As the Iron Lady, Meryl Streep disappears behind the coiffed hair, the pouting lips, the twin pearl necklaces, the overbite and the screeching voice. Gosh, she was even able to pin down the swaying of Thatcher's head! And as the retired Thatcher, Streep made me sympathize with the elderly as she struggled on the screen with old age and dementia. Watch how she walks like an old lady, with those small easy steps, drooping back and wandering eyes.

The movie narrates how Margaret, as a young lady from Grantham, made her way through British politics until she finally became the prime minister in 1979 by bringing the audience back in time through flashbacks showing the highlights in Thatcher's life and political career.

I especially enjoyed those memorable quotes from Thatcher which showed off her wit and toughness as a woman and as a leader. "It's time to put the 'great' back into Great Britain.", she said.

The movie is also quite a lesson on leadership and the acceptance of the female gender as an equal (the male- dominated Korean society could also learn a thing or two from the movie)

The British are lucky Margaret Thatcher wanted her life to mean something. She became their prime minister. I, too, am lucky, as her life is now a must-see movie!

Although I haven't seen the other Oscar best actress nominees' performances, I wouldn't be surprised if Meryl Streep wins her third Oscar. With her 17 nominations, it seems that it's already a habit for her to produce a performance year after year with which others have to try to measure their own performances. 

Good luck, Meryl! And if Margaret Thatcher were an Academy member, she'd definitely vote for you, too. 


  1. The Iron Lady, Thatcher is suffering from dementia? It might be better for her mental health. I wonder what is going to happen to her mentality when she hears the news that Korea will build Royal Navy 4 ships as a retired prime minister who shouted "It's time to put the 'great' back to Great Britain."

    Korea media say UK chose Korea due to Korean shipbuilder's high technology while UK tabloids insist the Korean shipbuilder was chosen due to labor cost. Haha it is a sort of British way of soothing their damaged self-esteem as a old glorious maritime kingdom whose sun had already set long time ago.

    I don't think there is some difference of income between Korean engineers and UK engineers. Most likely the opposite way around in favor of Korean engineers.

    I wish UK tabloids would deliver one ruthless truth to their ignorant readers ; last year Korea exported more than UK (Korea export volume was $558 billion and UK export volume was $495 billion)

  2. The stronghold of Korean engineers is Ulsan-city(1.1 million population), which is home to the world's largest automobile assembly plant operated by the Hyundai Motor Company, the world's largest shipyard operated by Hyundai Heavy Industries and the world's largest oil refinery, owned by SK Energy.

    In 2008, Ulsan had a GDP per capita of $63,817, the highest by far in South Korea according to Wikipedia

    Any US city of more than 1 million population doesn't have a GDP per capita of more than $60,000 according to Wikipedia.

    Therefore nobody can say Korea is enjoying the competitive edge over EU countries and US thanks to labor cost. On the contrary Korean engineers are apparently better off than their counterparts in EU countries and US.

  3. Your insights are very interesting. Thank you for your comments.