Thursday 19 January 2012

THE IRON LADY by Theresa Breslin

I went to see THAT film the other night.

I had a completely different Blogpost prepped for today but jettisoned it for this. A friend asked me to go with him to see 'The Iron Lady' and reluctantly I did, resenting handing over my hard-earned cash, and feeling I had to explain myself to the box office staff, ticket collector, popcorn / nacho / junk food seller and the person flogging the fudge, from whom I bought a bagful, thinking I might have to use it to stop my mouth in case I felt roused to hurl abuse at the screen. I wasn't as vocal as one chap who'd been dragged along by his partner and declared that as he'd watched films about Hitler and Stalin he supposed he could suffer one about 'her'.

We were a very quiet audience. The only notable reaction came when MT started to quote St Francis outside No. 10 Downing Street. Then there was a hissing sound, similar, I imagine, to the sound reputed to have been heard in movie theatres when the scene of the Yankee victory in 'Gone with the Wind' was playing in the deep South. The noise around me wasn't so loud. There were no more than twenty folk in the cinema and most were of the vintage of the main character. But it did bring it back to me like a slap on the face.

It was weird to have lived through those distressing times and revisit incidents and issues I felt passionate about. Having some knowledge of how a script works it was interesting to see what was expunged, glossed over, highlighted, and embroidered for dramatic and sympathetic effect.

By strange, but I'm glad to say, happy coincidence Random House are just about to reissue my KEZZIE books as a bind up under the title KEZZIE AT WAR. The first book is based on a mining village not far from where I live and is set in the late 1930s. I wrote it in the aftermath of the modern miners' strikes. When working as a librarian I managed a library situated near one of our more recent big pit disasters. In the book Kezzie's father states that the price of coal is paid by the miners and their families in blood.

For submitting to the make-up alone Meryl Streep deserves her Golden Globe. For an accurate portrayal of a megalomaniac drifting into dementia, I'll leave you to be the judge.

KEZZIE AT WAR will be published in Spring 2012

Theresa Breslin's latest historical novel PRISONER OF THE INQUISITION has won the Young Quill's Award and is shortlisted for the Scottish Children's Book Award. It was the favourite book of Carnegie Shadowing Groups.
DIVIDED CITY is being performed as musical theatre at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow. 2nd - 4th Feb 2012


JO said...

One good thing to emerge from this film, it seems to me, is that the voices of those who were harmed by her policies are, at last, being heard. The "wasn't she a wonderful woman" cry is challenged - no, she wasn't. And there are millions of people still struggling as a result of her policies.

I remember a time when there was talk of her having a state funeral when she dies. Thankfully, the tide is turning.

Mary Hoffman said...

This links beautifully with Celia's post of yesterday. No-one thinks they are actually "living in history" but a bio-pic like this brings it home that we were and are.

It was brave of you to go; I just couldn't bear to.

Theresa Breslin said...

It was a VERY hard test of friendship to accompany my friend who'd lived in London during that time but is also very interested in film and noticed tons of things that went past me.

Alex said...

I am not sure I couldn't sit through a movie about MT. She and her political bedfellow Reagan always got under my skin, their policies were so harmful and reprehensible. I wonder how Meryl Streep feels about the real MT.

One the other hand, I am so happy to hear your Kizzie books will be reissued. They are on my list of books to find, read and blog about.

Theresa Breslin said...

I too wondered about Meryl Streep. She must have sat through hours of film footage to study voice, mannerisms etc. I'd also like to know more about the director's role in this.

michelle lovric said...

Having just been lucky enough to read the the two wonderful Kezzie books, I am so glad to know they're coming back to life. I think the new cover is very engaging too.

Annette said...

Hmmm. Not my favorite post of this blog, I have to admit. Not everyone hates Margaret Thatcher. Some of us even admire her. And some, like myself, who were girls when she became Prime Minister, were even in awe that a woman held the powerful post that she did. Her presence on the world stage as I went from girl to woman helped me believe in the possibilities for my gender, and in the strength of a woman with conviction and fortitude. The almost constant vitriol directed at her now that the movie is out makes me sad.

Mary Hoffman said...

My "vitriol" towards Margaret Thatcher is not recent or prompted by the film. It comes from living through her premièreship.

Annette is of course entitled to her different view and I'm interested that she thought of Thatcher as an inspiration for women; she had very few of them in her cabinet, though.

Theresa Breslin said...

Thanks for commenting Annette - it's great to hear your point of view. I hope my observations didn't sound vitriolic. At the time I actually did think of her as an inspiration for women... to begin with. It was when her policies began to deeply disadvantage communities and I saw first hand the damage they inflicted that I found that I could not admire her. The film also saddens me because I question the ethics of portraying someone who is alive but suffering from dementia.