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The Iron Lady

There’s pretty much of a general consensus that Meryl Streep’s starring turn as former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady is a triumph. The consensus is just about on the mark. From now on, Streep will probably be remembered by many people for this performance. It may or may not be the finest moment in her long career, but there’s no question that it’s an impressive, finely wrought creation. It’s a shrewd and consistently sustained one, as it had to be to succeed since Streep is in every scene. To a substantial extent, her performance is this movie. Streep doesn’t just deliver a showy, pitch-perfect mimicry, she gives us a real, full-bodied dramatic character.

The Artist

There’s a jarring and brilliant moment early on in The Artist, the tale of a silent film star whose career is ruined by the coming of sound to movies. We start out in a movie theater, watching the premier of a new movie starring George Valentin. It’s an overwrought action movie, with our valiant hero being tortured by the bad guy, and as the overpowering music swells it’s a bit of a relief to cut away to the offscreen Valentin (Jean Dujardin), conferring with his producer and fretting over the reception the film is getting.


I am aware that I tend to berate my readers about the need to see movies in a theater rather than waiting for them to come to DVD or cable. As proof that this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction on my part to all films, I point to Roman Polanski’s adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s internationally acclaimed play God of Carnage, which may actually work better in your living room.

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