Film review: The Iron Lady (three out of five stars)

(12A) 105mins

Director: Phyllida Lloyd

Starring: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Coleman

IF YOU were a supporter of Maggie Thatcher and her politics then you won't be too disappointed with this movie - if you disliked the former PM then you'll still marvel at the acting.

Meryl Streep is amazing as the Iron Lady and could even pick up awards on the strength of her performance.

Apart from looking and sounding like her, she has pinpointed several of Mrs Thatcher's mannerisms to create a truly believeable role.

This isn't always the case with the supporting cast, though.

Richard E. Grant as Michael Heseltine still looks like Richard E. Grant and John Sessions doesn't really convince as Edward Heath.

But Jim Broadbent as Denis Thatcher gets aways with his part as few people saw too much of the man in real life, just smiling to one side of his wife.

The strength of the film is that it focuses on Mrs Thatcher as a vulnerable lady in her old age struggling with dementia.

Photos, music and everyday objects bring back memories and we are transported back to her childhood and first faltering steps into politics.

We see the struggle she faced in a male-dominated profession, her determination to see her policies through and how she finally alienated her allies.

However, cramming a lifetime into 105 minutes doesn't really work.

Steve Payne