A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Margaret Thatcher's place in history, no matter how controversial, offers a positive example of the fact that you don't have to come from wealth and privilege to become a leader. Her discipline and commitment to public service are also inspiring, even for those who don't share her politics.
Positive Role Models
Margaret works hard from a young age and is deeply committed to the values and causes that her father taught her. Despite her relatively humble beginnings, she's accepted to Oxford and then becomes involved in local politics before eventually rising to become the first (and only) female prime minister in the UK's history. She's depicted as caring more about doing the "right" thing than the "popular" thing.
Violence & Scariness
Footage of the Falklands War, as well as strategy conversations about how to proceed against the Argentines. In one jarring scene, Margaret's senior adviser is killed in a car bomb planted by the I.R.A.; the explosion occurs just moments after she speaks to him in a garage. References to the I.R.A. hunger strikers; a montage of English protesters demonstrating against Thatcher's policies.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
In documentary news footage, there's a brief shot of a topless woman celebrating after the end of the Falklands War. Young Margaret and Dennis Thatcher flirt, dance, embrace, and kiss.
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British slang like "bloody," "bugger," "my God" (as an exclamation), and "barmy," as well as "damn" and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Quick glimpse of Charles Tyrwhitt menswear.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Margaret has a drink -- usually a nightcap -- daily. She's tipsy in one scene, as is the ghost of her husband.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Iron Lady follows the life of Margaret Thatcher from a humble grocer's daughter to the United Kingdom's prime minister. A few violent images are shown -- notably of the Falklands War and of upset demonstrators, as well as of a character being killed by a car bomb -- and in one news-footage scene, the bare breasts of a woman in a crowd are visible. Language is limited to "bloody" and "damn," and romance consists of a few sweet embraces, dances, and kisses between the Thatchers. The film's depiction of major historical and political events may not hook most teens, but this biopic offers a valuable lesson in both British and women's history. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Streep lives up to the ridiculously high expectations audiences have of her in pretty much any film -- greatness. Director Phyllida Lloyd's quasi-biopic is in fact a collaboration of talented women, including herself at the helm (she also made the cheery musical Mamma Mia!), screenwriter Abi Morgan (who also wrote the critically acclaimed Shame) and, of course, Streep in the spotlight role, transforming herself once again.
It's not that she nails the accent or posture or hairstyle but that she's able to make one of the most polarizing political figures in recent world history a sympathetic underdog. There's a brilliant shot of the young Thatcher wearing a hat and carrying her signature purse walking into Parliament among a sea of men; it doesn't matter where you are on the political spectrum, you feel the impact of her presence. Broadbent and Lloyd are notable as the elder and younger Mr. Thatchers, but Streep is the reason audiences will go -- and stay -- despite some underwhelming montages and under-explored aspects of the (in)famous PM's life.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.