Review and Giveaway: The Rise and Fall of Margaret Thatcher

The upcoming release of The Iron Lady, with Meryl Streep tackling the role of Britain’s first female Prime Minister, has increased interest in Margaret Thatcher stateside. Case in point, BBC America released their three-film set The Rise and Fall of Margaret Thatcher this week. The set features three films from the BBC set during three specific eras of Thatcher’s life.

The first film in the set is 2008’s The Long Walk to Finchley, which looks at Thatcher’s life from 1949 to her election to parliament in 1959. In it Andrea Riseborough plays Margaret Roberts (who halfway through the film marries and gains the last name Thatcher.) The film plays almost more like a comedy than a drama. I wouldn’t say that’s a bad thing, though, because it makes the film more relatable for those who don’t know much about Britain’s political climate at the time. Riseborough is great as the type-A Margaret, whose only interest is “politics” and who proposes to a young Denis Thatcher before he gets the chance to do it himself. Actually, Rory Kinear as Denis was my favorite performance in the film. He’s simply adorable. The production design is top-notch and more than reminded me of the BBC’s recent period series The Hour.

The second film in the set is 2002’s The Falklands Play, which is set in 1983 and features Patricia Hodge as Thatcher. I must admit this film lost me a bit. I don’t know much about this era or the Falklands war (aside from what I learned from This Is England) and I’m not sure the film has much appeal to people who aren’t military history buffs and/or live and breathe political thrillers.

The last film in the set is 2009’s Margaret, which mostly takes place during the waning days of Thatcher’s post as Prime Minster, though it does occasionally jump back in time to when she was first elected. Lindsay Duncan plays Thatcher in this film with such assurance and explosive vigor, that it’s clear why she was known as “The Iron Lady”. No matter how you might feel about Thatcher’s politics, I think you’ll be hard-pressed not to be a little moved by the film’s last fifteen minutes, as Duncan’s stiff upper lip begins to quiver, finally accepting that the end has come at last.

You can find the 2-disc DVD  set on sale now at the BBC America shop.

I’ve actually got a copy to give away to one lucky reader, so leave a comment (don’t forget to include a way for me to contact you so I can mail it to you should you win!) and I’ll pick someone at random next Wednesday.

[edit] Congrats to Megan, winner of this giveaway!

About cinemafanatic

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on October 19, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. So excited to see how Meryl Streep does in the role. Also, must investigate this collection of films. I adore Andrea Riseborough!

    -Olivia

  2. Ah, I was wondering what prompted your day of Margaret Thatcher. I haven’t seen any of these, but The Long Walk to Finchley is definitely on my list now.

  3. It would be very interesting to see these before Meryl’s take on ‘The Iron Lady’. What a great box set idea!

  4. This looks really interesting and I’ve actually never actually watched it, but now I really want to!

  5. I love the BBC films! I haven’t seen any of those mentioned, so it would be awesome to win this set and check those last fifteen minutes of “Margaret” (I hope this giveaway is open worldwide, because I live in Chile).

  6. Comment ^_~
    A year ago I had a marathon of the TV series ‘Yes, Minister’ (as well as ‘Yes, Prime Minister) and it piqued my interest in British politics in the late 70s and 80s but I didn’t really do anything to feed my curiosity so I’m thrilled to find out about Streep portraying Margaret Thatcher (my starving curiosity is also very excited ^_^)!
    Contact Info:
    rqarteaga@yahoo.com

  7. Woo! So interested in seeing this.

  8. You’re one of my tumblr crushes, and I’m a sad college student who likes getting things in the mail! Also, who doesn’t like Margaret Thatcher?

    saiddance.tumblr.com

  9. I’ve only ever seen Margaret, and I didn’t catch the whole film. Now, I’m really excited, and really want it now.

  10. Oh, this sounds fantastic! I’d love a chance to have a Thatcher movie marathon!

  11. sharon marshall

    The Iron Lady gets a bronzed Hollywood make-over! Just rejoice at that news!

  12. Great movies love BBC

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