A Week with Iron Ladies...
One sunny, (January) Saturday afternoon, I went to see a noon screening of The Iron Lady. I wanted to experience it alone on the big screen.
I couldn't wait to see Meryl's work! I could not wait to see, what I knew would be a soulful, mind-blowing performance.
I'm not trying to be ironic, for lack of a better word, but being an iron lady is not a choice for many women who have no choice but to face the later stages in life alone.
With the SAG Awards coming up I've been cramming in as many films as I can.
What a week with so many Iron Ladies! The rebel, the revolutionary, the heroic outcasts, and the romantics.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Iron Lady, The Help, Albert Nobbs, Bridesmaids and My Week with Marilyn, all consistently fantastic performances in an array of diverse portrayals of strong, significant women.
What an inspiration! What a relief!
I think I was in grade school when Thatcher was in the later stages of her career. I remember my parents discussing her politics over the dining room table.
There was controversy in those conversations, of course. There was also and firstly, admiration for someone who was up against all odds (status and sex), and rose to power in the Western world by the strength of her character and conviction.
She just happend to be a woman. Why is it that men are considered leaders, while women are called controversial?
I cried through the whole damn film. Okay, maybe not the whole thing, there are some protest scenes that had me very dry eyed, but over all, from beginning to end, there was a kleenex stuck to my face.
Meryl Streep's work is so overwhelmingly good, it forced every tear of gratitude and inspiration out of me; that's the best way I can explain it.
But The Iron Lady, to me, is not a film about politics. I imagine if it had been, there would have been much more controversy swirling around it. Stupid typical controversy.
The Iron Lady is a humanistic portrayal of a courageous leader who, in the denouement of her life (shall we say), has to make peace with the sacrifices, the hard choices made alone, and the loss of her husband; her one true confidant.
Streep deeply captures the humanity of a woman who held steadfast to her ideals, her integrity; who raised and maintained the bar, but whose high powered days had long past and whose most prideful memories were slowly slipping through her fingertips. How could you not weep?
I thought of my grandmothers, all of whom went to college and achieved great things, but who have all outlived their husbands by at least thirty years and continue to do so.
And I thought of my mother.
I can't speak on behalf of Thatcher's politics because I don't fully relate to them, but what I do relate to is her courage to 'say what no one else will say.'
Thatcher wasn't a feminist. She was just doing what she believed needed to be done. And she did it in addition to maintaining the demanding roles of wife and mother.
After viewing the film, I couldn't help but overhear conversations about it. I was surprised to hear that most women hated Margaret Thatcher, while others felt the film was a vulnerable, unfair depiction of her today.
Men will take each other's side, even when they are making huge mistakes; take our former Presidential administration for example. Talk about an unbreakable bromance.
Disagree with Thatcher's politics, sure; but how could you hate someone who never gave up on herself or what she believed in?
My life is filled with iron ladies; present representation included.
We, are all we've got.
Surely, the audience present in the theater with me that day was proof of this inevitable truth.
Oh, and Happy Chinese New Year 2012! It's the year of the Dragon...Lady.
(photos courtesy of punchstock.com and gettypictures)
Yours Truly -- Ann Hu