Meryl Streep has defended her portrayal of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a frail old woman suffering from dementia in The Iron Lady, says BBC News.
The film has drawn criticism from Baroness Thatcher’s former colleagues, including former Conservative party chairman Norman Tebbit who called the performance “half-hysterical, over-emotional”. Streep told the BBC,
I felt that if we did it in the right way, it would be OK. There is a feeling that the walls are just more permeable between the present and the past and one intrudes on the other. It’s something that I don’t think there should be a stigma about, it’s life, it’s the truth. We’ve all had that moment where you can’t remember why you went upstairs and so it was extrapolating that feeling of disorientation, momentary as it is.”
Iron Lady tells Thatcher’s story in a series of flashbacks, the elderly Thatcher struggling with dementia, and her rise and fall from power.
Former Conservative politician Michael Portillo praised Streep but told the BBC that he “felt uncomfortable” about the scenes of her infirmity,
I wouldn’t want to see my own mother portrayed in that way. I recognise it is a tremendous piece of art, but that will be a controversial feature of the film.”
But Streep, referring Carol Thatcher’s book about her mother’s illness, said,
Carol caught a lot of flak for speaking about this, but other people who have dementia in their family are grateful.”
Photo: Streep as Thatcher in Iron Lady