This new Margaret Thatcher biopic isn't very good

But it is the chilling image of a once dominant leader reduced to a fumbling, mumbling old crone that is the movie’s main theme and, while it may pass muster as a sly piece of brutal political theater, as a record of Thatcher and her many achievements, both for good and ill, it is a pitiless, poisonous travesty. Streep has lent her extraordinary acting skills to perhaps the most shameful and cruel piece of political revenge ever to have made it to the screen.

Would Henry Fonda have volunteered his name and faultless reputation to “The Deranged Mr. Lincoln”? Anthony Hopkins dignified Oliver Stone’s somber “Nixon” by trying to get beneath the skin of the paranoid president brought down by his private demons. Even Josh Brolin in Stone’s hilarious “W” made America’s most contentious president in recent times a likeable, surprisingly complex eldest son yearning to show his father he was worthy of winning the White House.

What were the producers of “The Iron Lady” thinking? The money is mostly British, with a little French added, topped off by a deal with the anglophile Harvey Weinstein, and the movie is intended primarily for a British audience. In America, Thatcher retains a great deal of her sheen and is fondly recalled as a plain-talking, energetic, charismatic office wife to Ronald Reagan. In Britain, however, she remains largely a political pariah, a ruthless, heartless, domineering battle-axe whose toxic inheritance left the next three subsequent Conservative leaders unelectable.