As a biopic, The Iron Lady is nothing to write home about—but critics are blown away by Meryl Streep's typically excellent performance as Margaret Thatcher:
- The film contains "little sense of the outside world, the human cost, or the ripple effect of divisive government policies. It is a movie that gives us Thatcher without Thatcherism," writes Xan Brooks in the Guardian. But Streep "is the one great weapon of this often silly and suspect picture." She offers "a masterpiece of mimicry."
- In the New York Times, AO Scott calls the movie "a credible enough portrait." But "Streep provides, once again, a technically flawless impersonation that also seems to reveal the inner essence of a well-known person."
- There's "more softness than steel" here, writes Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. "Rather than an examination, or an assessment, of her politics, it instead offers up an affecting if not always satisfying portrait of the strong-willed leader humbled by age."
- Dana Stevens is less forgiving at Slate. "The Iron Lady is, to put it kindly, a shambles," she writes. "If it weren’t for Streep," the film "would be unwatchable. But then, Streep could make a morning spent in line at the DMV feel like spellbinding drama."