Meryl Streep accused of being a money-grabbing history-revisionist


Ever since the trailer for The Iron Lady came out earlier this week, Margaret Thatcher’s friends and former colleagues have been waging a campaign against Streep, and it’s getting personal. Now, there were complaints and concerns before the trailer came out too – after all, Thatcher was and remains a divisive figure in the UK, but her supporters worship her like American conservatives worship Ronald Reagan. Thatcher’s defenders have judged Meryl’s performance JUST from the trailer, and they’re trying to dismiss it out of hand as simply the work of some money-hungry Hollywood types – because surely the best way for a film to make money is to make it all about a controversial 1980s leader…? One of Thatcher’s former colleagues wrote a piece for The Guardian, criticizing Streep’s performance as “half-hysterical, over-emotional, over-acting” - once again, this is just from the trailer. He hasn’t seen the film.

But the most discussed bit of criticism came from Thatcher’s former PR adviser Tim Bell, who told The Telegraph: “I can’t be bothered to sensationalise this rubbish. Its only value is to make some money for Meryl Streep and whoever wrote it. I have no interest in seeing it. I don’t need a film to remind me of my experiences of her. It is a non-event.” TUT-TUT. Crumpets. Unfortunately for those who criticize Streep as just another money-grubbing “Hollywood type,” Meryl is pretty cool woman and she’s worthy of respect too:

Meryl Streep has been accused of making the Margaret Thatcher biopic “The Iron Lady” just “to make some money.” But the Oscar winner cut her fee on the film to $1 million and donated the proceeds to charity.

A former Thatcher aide bashed the project this week, saying, “Its only value is to make some money for [Streep].”

But the actress slashed her quote to get the movie made, sources say, and she pledged a million to help fund the National Women’s History Museum last fall, according to reports. Word leaked that Streep would attend a semi-spontaneous New York screening of “Lady” this week. But that was never possible: She was traveling between Washington, DC, and the US-China Forum on the Arts and Culture in Beijing with Amy Tan and Joel Coen. Reports say she’ll show the movie there.

[From Page Six]

The lesson? Don’t even start with Meryl Streep. She’s too cool. She cannot be dismissed as some money-hungry famewhore with no respect for history. Bitches, please.

Now, all of that being said, Streep’s performance is being hailed in early reviews, but it’s only being recognized as a good-to-great performance in a so-so film. Most critics still think Viola Davis is the one to beat for the Best Actress Oscar this year. Hmm.

Here’s the trailer for The Iron Lady again:





Photos courtesy of WENN.

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66 Responses to “Meryl Streep accused of being a money-grabbing history-revisionist”

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  1. Eve says:

    I love Streep but I didn’t get too excited with what I saw from the trailer. Sorry.

  2. tmbg says:

    *Yells out Chris Crocker-style* Leave Meryl ALOOOOONE!

    I have never seen an interview with this lady where she hasn’t been incredibly funny, charming and down-to-earth. We’re not talking about Kardashians here. She’s a terrific actress with loads of talent who is actually entertaining.

  3. Dorothy#1 says:

    LOVE Meryl!!! There is no one better!

    She is unrecognizable! What awesome acting.

  4. Carol says:

    There is something wrong in a world in which Meryl Streep doesn’t hold the record for most acting Oscars ever. She’s tied with Hilary Swank? Hilary Swank? Please. . .

    And, UK, don’t mess with Meryl. Ever.

  5. fabgrrl says:

    Oh please! As if Meryl Streep needs to do anything just for money or fame.

  6. Eve says:

    @ Carol:

    Actually, she has less Oscars than Swank…if you consider only the Best Actress in a Leading Role award (Streep has only one Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar — for Sophie’s Choice, the other one was Best Actress in a Supporting Role, for Kramer vs. Kramer).

  7. Kiki says:

    Could any of the British ladies who comment here tell me why this women (Thatcher) is disliked? I thought she had been a great leader (I was under the impression.)

  8. Lara says:

    One of my Dad’s best friends is a recovering alcoholic and has said the only time he’ll ever drink again is when Thatcher dies. Then again he is from Sheffield a city that she basically destroyed.

  9. renee says:

    @Kiki, I am not from the UK but this woman was a hard line conservative, sort of like Ronald Reagan on steroids. She wanted to privatize libraries in the UK, was unsupportive of sanctions in South Africa, supported Pinochet (the Chilean dictator who was responsible for the tortures deaths and disappearance of numerous Chileans) was classist to the nth degree…Google her or look her up on Wikipedia.

  10. Leticia says:

    Thatcher, along with Reagan, broke the back of communism, and for that I shall be forever grateful.

  11. Seal Team 6 says:

    I am so excited about this movie! I can’t wait to see it.

  12. UKHels says:

    She pretty much destroyed manufacturing and industry in great swathes of the country, supported corrupt and hardline right wing regimes and privatisation, promoted self over society (that’s worked well huh?). She was an awful woman and the effects of her leadership have probably set women back in politics by 50 years – everyone is terrified of another Thatcher

    those of us who lived through her have got pretty long memories – from what I’ve heard of Meryl doing her she sounds like she’s ‘trying to do the voice’ but the voice isn’t what it’s all about

    I shall wait to see it before I judge too harshly…

  13. Pippa says:

    @Kiki, essentially yeah Renee’s right. She was an insanely hardline conservative who shut down industries, reduced the power of trade unions, reduced things like benefits, council housing and free school meals for the poor, supported the use of police brutality against protesters and supported mass unemployment because it kept inflation of the pound down (ignoring completely the human consequences). She basically destroyed huge working class communities, particularly in the North of England where I’m from. Basically down here, Thatcher is still a dirty word for a lot of people, even amongst my generation who are too young to have even have known her in power many hld her personally responsible for a lot of suffering that happened in the 80′s.

  14. Seal Team 6 says:


    Not British, but a lifelong student of history, both academically and for personal interest, and Thatcher was very controversial. She broke the unions, promoted her Community Charge (poll tax), cut taxes for the wealthy, slashed social services, privatized many nationally-owned businesses, tried to silence protestors, took a hardline on the Northern Irish, was very aganst the EU, many also say she helped destroy the economy. yadayadayada

    She did something very few women have been able to do, and she did survive an assassination attempt by the Provo IRA. This murder attempt was odious, but so was the way she directed the British gov’t to act in and toward Northern Ireland.

    Very polarizing figure.

  15. Girl says:

    I’m very conservative in some ways and very liberal in others. That said, wouldn’t you have to see the movie or read the script before making a judgment like that? Of course your never going to see a 100%, just the facts ma’am, movie ever. The directors, the writers, the actors, etc. are always going to color it with their perception (and that’s, uh, kinda what we are paying for when we buy a ticket). Sheesh!

  16. Seal Team 6 says:

    I said what Pippa and Renee did, even though I’m a Yank, but I’m in Mod Hell!

  17. Happymom says:

    I love Meryl Streep-but she looks like she’s wearing a lab coat to her premiere.

  18. Kaboom says:

    Tim Bell needs to watch out. Meryl may just elect to play him in a movie and do so better than he does.

  19. mln76 says:

    All the descriptions remind me of the beautiful Sinead O’connor ‘Black Boys on Mopeds’

    Margret thatcher on TV
    Shocked by the deaths
    That took place
    In Bejing
    It seems strange
    That she
    Should be offended
    The same orders
    Are given by her

    • MacScore says:

      Right on with the Sinead quotation!!!!! Perfect!

      Adding to the list of Thatcher’s crimes: almost single-handedly destroying the mining industry in South Wales, where workers were forced to strike for fair conditions and were crushed. Of course, this is to be expected from a woman whose early actions in government included slashing the free milk program in schools – for some lower income groups, a very necessary source of protein and calcium (“Thatcher, Thatcher, Milk-Snatcher” was how she was known).

      Love Meryl and will definitely watch the film. To accuse her of having “money-grabbing” intentions is patently ABSURD.

  20. Jane says:

    I love the makeup Meryl is wearing as Maggie T.

  21. WhiteNoise says:

    I’m a bit confused by the trailer (I expected serious but it seems parody-like which maybe is the intention?) but if it shows Thatcher up for the cold, heartless, power-hungry crone she was, then we’re in business. And if it ridicules her, and makes people like Tim Bell splutter in indignation, even better!

    The idea that Meryl Streep would sell herself for money is beyond laughable. From what I’ve seen of this, she has Thatcher’s insincerity and pretensiousness down to a tee. Maybe that’s why they’re so up in arms. She’s nailed it.

  22. Lisa says:

    Thatcher must have had something going for her as she was Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. If she was so horrible why didnt the Uk public vote her out?
    BTW you can not compare Thatcher to Reagan. UK politics and US politics are very different.

  23. Maya says:

    I thought Viola Davis would be nominated for Best Supporting Actress for The Help. The trailer for this film does look great though…Meryl Streep is my idol.

  24. Shelly says:

    The beginning of the trailer almost seemed like the movie’s going to be some campy comedy. Which I personally think Meryl excels at. Then the second half seems more serious. I dunno. I love Meryl. She makes every movie she’s in infinitely more interesting. If these folks have a problem with the movie, they should take it up with the director and not her.

  25. A~ says:

    Lisa, Plenty of horrible leaders are voted into power for long periods of time. Hitler was elected by popular vote.

  26. UKHels says:

    what thatcher had going for her was weak opposition who the public would never vote for in a million years

  27. Lisa says:

    Please tell me you didnt mean to envoke Godwins Law with your comment.
    So she was the best choice at the time then, and saved the country from worse fate.

  28. S says:

    Her hair looks too blond imo compared to Thatcher and she has def not the look of the iron lady. Thatchers eyes never smiled, even when she grined. At least in the trailer, theres too much smiling.

  29. Kelly says:

    Meryl Streep is what I’d like all of Hollywood, and not just “old Hollywood — Carey Grant, Kate Hepburn – that old class is gone for the most part; Streep is in a league of her own. Not a sell-out; I’ve seen her in real life – in NY when I lived in Jersey – at a museum – she was there with – her husband? – not sure, mingling with the regular people and had a very kind/funny personality – did not take herself too seriously at ALL!

  30. Criss says:

    Meryl Streep is one of the few true actresses that do it for the art. I think people are confusing her with the character she is playing.

  31. Cheyenne says:

    Criss: I think people are confusing her with the character she is playing.

    It doesn’t sound like it. It seems like the people who are most upset with her are those who were close to Thatcher.

    I thought Queen Elizabeth would have a shitfit over Helen Mirren’s devastating performance of her in “The Queen”, but Mirren actually scored an invitation to dinner at Buckingham Palace the year after the movie was released.

  32. Joddles says:

    am i the only one who is reminded of Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford??? I love me some Streep but this looks like “Minister Dearest”…not good people

  33. Ann says:

    Whatta foolio. She’s gonna Miranda Priesley him.

  34. iseepinkelefants says:

    Maybe the Brits are being jealous haters. Here’s an American that is a phenomenal actress and she’s not British, playing a controversial British figure. Must get their goat. After all they love to moan about how Hollywood actors suck and you really cannot say that about Meryl (as eidenced that she donated her bloody fee to charity! Ahaha).

    I haven’t seen the trailer but is the movie Pro-Thatcher? Because if it isn’t than my argument stands. If it’s Pro-Thatcher than my guess is they’re up in arms about that. You cannot be Pro-Thatcher in England unless you’re a Toff.

    But how does one expect an autobiographical movie to go? I’ve never seen an AB movie where the figure, no matter how much of an asshole, doesn’t come out in slightly better light. You cannot create a character (whether real or imagined) that the audience hates. It just doesn’t work.

  35. iseepinkelefants says:

    Cheyenne – maybe the Queen was flattered that they chose someone young[er] and hot like Mirren to play her? Maybe she believed the hype?

  36. F5 says:

    One of the most overrated actresses ever.. just watch Mamma Mia (omgwtf) or even worse “It’s Complicated”.
    She giggles so much in that one, I think she was probably drunk the whole time ._.

  37. Feebee says:

    I love that he thinks she was acting over-emotionally. Because from my far away view point of Thatcher was that she was a ultra conservative cold hearted bitch that truly earned her nickname. Now I might be wrong but if not it wouldnt be hard to be seen as over emotional if Streep was trying to make her more human.

  38. fabgrrl says:

    Totally off topic: how old is Meryl Streep? She looks fantastic! Has she had work done? She has such a unique face – sometimes normal, sometimes incredibly beautiful. I just love her!

  39. Cheyenne says:

    @iseepinkelefants: Mirren’s portrayal of the Queen was not at all flattering. But at least the Queen had the grace to recognize that it was an extraordinarily good portrayal. I doubt Thatcher would have class enough to do that.

  40. NM9005 says:

    Did she get work done on her face?

    Eh, what did they expect when they made a film about such a controversial conservative figure? I’m sure Streep is wise, smart and secure enough to withstand their shitstorm. Besides, what are their comments worth when they didn’t even see the film. It’s a way too extreme opinion.

  41. RocketMerry says:

    Seriously. Shut up and sit down in adoring awe of Meryl or shut up and crawl back up your English ass, Mr Whatever.

  42. Kiki says:

    @renee, ,@pippa, @sealteam:

    Thank-you so much for your replies. Sometimes I ask for opinions here because I am very interested in various opinios. I don’t think google or wikipedia can give me that… Thanks!!!

  43. Callumna says:

    She is so beautiful. I can’t get over how breathtaking she is as the Iron Lady and herself.

    Her inner and her outer have an equal amount of class, lovliness and strength.

    If Melanie Griffith had ever developed as a person instead of a clueless Marilyn Monroe like bimbo on drugs she’d look today like Meryl Streep in that updo instead of a dead clown face.

    I hope the movie is good and truthful.

  44. SueAnn says:

    I love her….she can do no wrong in my eyes…

  45. Jaxx says:

    Bite your tongue Britain! Madame Streep isn’t a money hungry anything ever! She is the classiest lady down to her boots and I won’t hear a bad word about her.

  46. LAK says:

    @lisa #22 it saddens me when people denigrate what Thatcher achieved. When you look at History, Britain was going to hell in a hand basket and she had to make difficult decisions. Same thing going on now, although the jury is still out on the current leaders.

    And for every person who brings out the support of dodgy dictators as an example of her flawed judgement, i say haven’t we seen that with every leader of the ‘free’ world?

  47. Britt says:

    Margaret was a female Ronald Reagan, which spelled bad for the middle class and poor. She was not a great leader, which is why there is hate for her globally. Also, just because other leaders might “support” dictators does not make for Margaret’s support of one okay. If eveyone starts killing eachother is that okay?

  48. sintia says:

    Couldn’t be more out of kontekst

  49. okeydokey says:

    Its only value is to make some money for Meryl Streep and whoever wrote it.

    * * * *

    Even if Meryl DIDN’T cut her fee and basically give away her salary, isn’t that one of the purposes of making a film? To make money for your work?

  50. Ally says:

    So Hattie McDaniel won her Oscar in 1941, which was groundbreaking at the time, even though she was playing a Civil War-era servant (slave, in fact) to white Southern young women

    Repeating the same 70 years later is indefensible. Viola Davis is a fine actress, but rewarding such a role is heinous, symbolically.

    Streep is looking similar to her Julia Childs character here, with the same hooting intonation in the voice despite the accent & make-up change.

    This movie seems to continue the recent tradition of remaking TV movies into Oscar-nomination vehicles, like Victoria & Albert – Young Victoria. Also Pride & Prejudice. The multi-part Thatcher Brit TV movie was called The Iron Lady.

    I feel like these movie screenwriters use the excellent TV versions like Cliffs Notes. Frankly, that’s what the cinema versions play like, too. (Especially the Keira Knightley P&P: it plays like it was paraphrased for 12-year-olds.)

  51. original kate says:

    meryl looks great in glasses – she should wear them all the time.

  52. AJ says:

    @ Ally

    What are you talking about? The 2006 Pride and Prejudice was an amazing remake. I have watched many takes on the novel. It is “rushed” to accommodate for time, but it is fantastic. Keira was Elizabeth, simply amazing.

    You cant compare BBC miniseries that endeavor to capture the entire novel, to a 2 hour feature film. I believe that films based on novels truly succeed if they can convey, with such limitations, the spirit of the work. Some are terrible. Others bring new life to characters, while staying true to the story.

  53. cprincess says:

    Thatcher was hated but people still voted for her..
    She had some policies that I agreed with-she was the only one whoever stood up to the unions and particularly the miners unions who always got what they wanted before her-she was anti the EU and as it turns out she’s been right in some respects there-the European leaders hated her but respected her and like most of these politicians she became power mad and did not know when to bow out gracefully…
    However her kind of conservatism is the true kind- it is not based on what God told her to do as is the case here in the US… it was such a joke when Palin,Bachman etc said she was their hero-she wouldn’t have spat at them in her hey day!

  54. Jane says:

    I’m gonna vent after reading all these comments!

    First I dislike that half the people on here are making sweeping generalizations that the entire population of Britain are dissing Meryl Streep. It is Margaret Thatcher’s supporters who are being negative towards this movie. Don’t attack Britain.

    Second, there is a definate anti-Thatcher mood. Having read several books on Thatcher I admit she made some very unpopular decisions but I have read several recent articles praising her with lines such as she “pulled Britian up by the boot straps”. Personally I admire Thatcher but I know I am in the minority and having never experienced her premireship it is likely her ideas are not as appealing when your the victim of them.

    Thirdly I advise anybody who doesn’t know alot about Thatcher to look her up and find out before about her before you watch the movie. The film is dramatized and I hate when people take History portrayed in film as truth. Watch a documentary if you can’t be bothered reading. Just don’t watch the movie and start discussing Thatcher from the perspective you got from a movie.

    Lastly, I am so freaking excited for this film! Meryl Streep looks absolutely amazing. I love that she is the actress playing Thatcher she is definately the best person to do it.


  55. TrollyDolly says:

    @Kiki – She was a grocer’s daughter, not born to inherited wealth or position who elevated herself by sheer force of will and 4 hours sleep a night, smashed every glass ceiling known and should be an inspirational figure for women.

    Unfortunately she was a Sociopath who declared “there is no such thing as society” and did her very best to ruin it in the UK.

  56. Megan says:

    @kiki Could any of the British ladies who comment here tell me why this women (Thatcher) is disliked? I thought she had been a great leader (I was under the impression.)
    She absolutely hammered the poor and working class. To this day areas of the country are still playing catch up. Heartless policies.

  57. Phoenix says:

    As a British person I could not care less that Streep is American, playing Thatcher. She (Thatcher) is a vile, horrible woman. Obviously what she did with the unions, privatisation of business, TAKING AWAY FREE SCHOOL MILK!! (although I think I read that they may have been started under the previous labour govt., but I’ll still give her shit for it..) etc. etc. are all bad enough, but I’ve mainly disliked her because she did absolutely eff all for women. Obviously she didn’t HAVE to, but as the first woman to hold the highest role in Britain, why not Maggie? I don’t use the word for many people, but Thatcher was an absolute C***!

  58. Trashaddict says:

    Un, excuse me, but who gives a flying fuck if Meryl Streep IS just making the movie to make money? Isn’t that what Hollywood is about? And they do take dramatic liberties with history. Otherwise it would be a fucking documentary. And any dyed-in-the-wool conservative should fight to the death for a person’s right to make the ever-loving dollar.

  59. Ally says:

    @AJ, I know many people love the 2005 version. I think it plays like an SNL sketch. It’s not just that they condensed the story (inevitable) but that even the dialogue is dumbed down, stripped of its fine wit, and reduced to a Reader’s Digest level of literacy.

    It was gorgeously photographed, however… I’d watch it with the sound off. And with a picture of Colin Firth taped to the TV over the woefully miscast Matthew Macfadyen’s face. He looks like he wandered in to the frame from the Meryton council office.

  60. MrsNix says:

    Here in Europe, the predominant political ideology is much more centralized government oriented. The free market economy is mixed with much larger and socialism-centered governance. This means that the political culture here is several notches to the left of the United States even on the conservative side. A conservative like Thatcher is far more radical in a European context than she is to the American audience, so she had much more vociferous opposition than Reagan did in the United States. The US is a much more conservative culture in general, so Reagan has less detractors at home than his counterpart did in Britain.

    That’s the main reason for the loud opposition to her. Her supporters love her. Her opposition calls her a horrible, evil person. There’s not a whole lot of middle ground.

  61. Lenore says:

    @55 TrollyDolly – “She was a grocer’s daughter, not born to inherited wealth or position who elevated herself by sheer force of will and 4 hours sleep a night, smashed every glass ceiling known and should be an inspirational figure for women.”

    Say WHAT?!

    She was never poor to begin with, and she married a man with sufficient means to enable her to live in comfort while pursuing her political career. She then went on to cudgel the working classes of Britain with her smugness at being a working mother (if she could do it, why not all those other scroungers?).

    An inspiration to women? For what? For putting their husbands out of work and taking the milk out of their childrens’ hands? For presiding over a government that destroyed the working communities of Britain, then chided the unemployed to “get on their bikes and look for work” when there was no work to find? For sinking the bloody Belgrano? What glass ceilings did she smash for women exactly, except to prove that in government, we are as lunatic and heartless as any man could ever be?

    Sorry, but I’m a Brit and I grew up poor in the North in the 80s when this woman was busying herself with the demolition of the infrastructure of British industry and society, and I cannot beLIEVE that there are people on here supporting her. She was a heinous human being and a terrible prime minister, and the only reason she kept getting elected was by playing on people’s fears that it would all be worse without the Tories, that Labour would come and tax you to death and Gorbachev would nuke you for dessert.

    If the bitch only slept four hours a night then I hope it was her conscience keeping her up. One day the people of England will queue up to pay fitting tribute to Margaret Thatcher in the urinal that will be erected over her grave.

  62. Zvonk says:

    The “there is no such thing as society” quote is constantly taken out of context. The full quote is as follows…

    “when people come and say: “But what is the point of working? I can get as much on the dole!” You say: “Look” It is not from the dole. It is your neighbour who is supplying it and if you can earn your own living then really you have a duty to do it and you will feel very much better!”
    There is also something else I should say to them:”If that does not give you a basic standard, you know, there are ways in which we top up the standard. You can get your housing benefit.”
    But it went too far. If children have a problem, it is society that is at fault. There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.”

    She had a point.

    (for American readers, “dole” is our terminology for welfare payments)

  63. Trollydolly says:

    Hi Lenore, I completely agree with you. As I wrote she was a sociopath who tried to destroy British (and Irish) society not to mention the Malvinas! I loathe and despise her but I also have to acknowledge she became PM at a time of rampant sexism.

  64. Wow says:

    Why can’t anyone criticize Meryl Streep?

    She over-acted in Julia and Julie.
    Really did a poor grotesque work, but everybody has to be so mesmorized by her “performance”.

    She showed bad taste to say the least when time and again she talked about sensitive matters concerning her daughter (regarding her facial features and insecurity).

    Excuse me, but don’t use your daughter and her private conversations with you, ESPECIALLY her insecurities as fodder to chew on in interviews.

    and I don’t think she is that great as they pretend she is.

    The Devil Wears PRada was a lovely film because it had a gread script, a decent cast (yes including her), exact direction and wonderful colors thanks to the fashion that made it all more beautiful. She did a one dimentional, though fine work there. She didn’t “carry the film”.

    She is no Vivien Leigh.

    Laura Linney for example is better than her, but remains low profile.

    Why can’t they mention that she does it for money and trophies?

    She is not doing it to cure cancer or find cures for other diseases, is she?

  65. doğancan says:

    so beautiful lady :)