Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Will Hollywood Do Right by The Iron Lady?

Are you looking forward to the nationwide release of The Iron Lady, a major "biopic" which stars Meryl Streep as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher? If you're a genuine lover of freedom (or, for that matter, historical accuracy), then I'd suggest you not get your hopes up too high.

After all, the film is getting even more than the standard hype from Hollywood (and you know how they feel about conservatives out there) and in an interview with the New York Times, Streep compared Lady Thatcher to King Lear as she wondered why leaders do “monstrous things."

So here's a suggestion. Why not defer spending your money on the movie -- at least until you've read the film's review by Dr. Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, former foreign policy researcher to Lady Thatcher, and a regular commentator on films for Britain’s Telegraph newspaper. He will do so for the Heritage Foundation's Foundry page next week.

And until then? Theodore Bromund at the Foundry has a few ideas:

But whether the film is good, bad, indifferent, or just misguided, you don’t have to rely on Hollywood for your history. The real Lady Thatcher, patron of The Heritage Foundation, has a record that stands on its own, and she would want–she would demand–nothing more than to be judged by her own deeds and words.

That’s why, throughout this week and next, we will highlight some of Lady Thatcher’s greatest speeches, from her 1983 reminder to Britain’s Conservative Party that “there is no such thing as public money” to her staunch support for the sovereign, democratic nation-state in 1988 to her eulogy in 2004 for her friend, the late President Ronald Reagan.

If you want more, it’s easy to find. The Margaret Thatcher Foundation offers free online access to thousands of historical documents–speeches, official government documents, commentary, and much more–covering Lady Thatcher’s entire career, including more than 8,000 statements by Lady Thatcher herself.

Any conservative, any friend of liberty, indeed anyone with an interest in the history of the 20th century will find much here to treasure. If The Iron Lady does less than justice to the reality of Lady Thatcher’s life, it won’t be because her record is hidden. On the contrary: it’s there for all to read...