Meryl Streep is a brilliant voice actress. Consider the range of characters she has played, a Polish emigrant, a California actress with a drug problem, Karen von Blixen, Silkwood, French Lieutenant’s Woman, an Irish peasant, an Australian mother, a fashion editor, and on and on. In this movie, she is Margaret Thatcher, that woman with the big hair and the steely voice. Streep’s natural voice is there, in the center of an impersonation which has wrapped itself in the middle class accent of a British prime minister both reviled and adored by millions.
The writing of the screenplay centers on Thatcher’s mental confusion, her grieving over the loss of her husband, Dennis, played brilliantly by Jim Broadbent. Streep and Broadbent together are very companionable. It looks as if they are having a good time together, as if they are truly married, truly crazy about each other, and driving each other crazy too.
The best scene in the movie takes place in a doctor’s office when Thatcher is asked how she feels. She answers that people worry too much about feelings and not enough about ideas which lead to action and action leads to habit which forms character. Ask me what I think she demands. I feel fine.
Streep makes you forget about anything but the ideas being expressed at that moment. There is command in her voice, and something else, an embodiment of another person in another time.