Power and Its Loss in The Iron Lady

  • Florence Sutcliffe-BraithwaiteEmail author
  • Jon Lawrence
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of the Media book series (PSHM)


This essay examines The Iron Lady (2011, directed by Phyllida Lloyd), and suggests that the film’s main focus is not dementia (as was suggested in much media coverage on its release), but rather grief and the price that Thatcher paid in her personal life for her pursuit of power. In its treatment of gender the film is in places sophisticated, showing Thatcher’s difficult compromises. However, in other places it paints a simple story of ‘the plucky young woman against the chauvinist establishment’. The film squeezes Thatcher’s public life into a simple narrative arc (adversity, triumph, hubris, and downfall); it therefore gives an extremely oversimplified view of Thatcher’s politics. The film is ultimately more compelling as an exploration of the price of power, rather than as a political biography.


Gender Memory Thatcherism Grief 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University CollegeLondonUK
  2. 2.University of ExeterExeterUK

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