The Iron Lady is so much about Streep's performance that it's actually helpful to forget that it's trying to be about Thatcher. The sloppy montage sequences, the non-committal way in which the film shifts emphasis away from Thatcher's policies and onto her accomplishments as a woman who beat incredible odds, the baffling notion that dementia is caused by one’s hanging on to the past (and that its hallucinations can be cured by throwing away old stuff!)—all of these things are problematic, to be sure, if we're looking to watch an intelligent movie about Thatcher the politician, or even Thatcher the woman: on these grounds, The Iron Lady is certainly a failure. Enjoying the film requires zeroing in on Streep and her trademark attention to detail and nuance: it requires forgetting, really, that the movie is any kind of a statement about any real person, and paying attention to how Streep uses her eyes, or the reading she gives to a particular line. Divorced of all context, Streep's performance is one in which she brings to life a hard-edged, fatally stubborn woman, sometimes smug, sometimes almost comically bitchy (shades of The Devil Wears Prada here), and, at the end of her life, frustrated and tired. Particularly in the old-age scenes, Streep could be any elderly woman suffering from fatigue and dementia; her achievement here does not seem to be that she “becomes” Thatcher, but that she transcends mere impersonation in order to turn Thatcher into just another sad, aging lady.