Meryl’s Maggie Like Faye’s Joan?

Grantland’s Mark Harris admires Meryl Streep‘s “old Maggie” acting in “The Iron Lady,” but he has difficulty with the other two-thirds of the film because it “lets its subject down by insisting that the most — no, the only — interesting thing about Prime Minister Thatcher is that she was a woman in a world of male power.” Then Harris makes a comparison that seems a reach to me: “There’s a campy scene in ‘Mommie Dearest’ when the widowed Joan Crawford tells off an all-male ‘Mad Men’-era boardroom by bellowing, ‘Don’t fuck with me, fellas! This ain’t my first time at the rodeo!’ That’s a fun idea for a moment, but not for a whole movie. And for a subject as complex as Thatcher, it’s fatal.” What do I say to Harris’s viewpoint? Get me the axe! Streep’s performance isn’t campy. It’s pretty fucking great, as a matter of fact, in avoiding the female-impersonator pitfalls inherent in playing a woman as non-lesbian-butch as Thatcher.

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