The Iron Lady
BLU-RAY & DVD
Written by Abi Morgan.
Streep, Jim Broadbent, Richard E. Grant, Olivia
by Frank J. Avella
Much has been written about Meryl Streep’s
triumphant performance in The Iron Lady,
for which she justly won her long-overdue third
Academy Award. And, after seeing it a third time,
via Blu-Ray, there aren’t enough superlatives
in the English language to describe this passionate,
nuanced interpretation of one of the most significant
figures of the 20th century, Margaret Thatcher.
captures Thatcher as a ruthless, driven, stubborn,
willful leader who must prove herself in a lions
den of men and, despite decisions that made her
terribly unpopular with many, does what she feels
is best for her beloved country. Love her or loathe
her, she is a patriot first.
The film itself
is a meticulously crafted chronicle of a steely
woman who has not only lost her tremendous power
but is also losing her mind.
Law (Mamma Mia) has created an oddball biopic
that soars or crashes on the talents of its star.
Luckily she is working with the best. Streep is
onscreen for almost all of the film's running
time, making every frame mesmerizing.
praise on Dame Meryl, critics dissed the film
because it wasn't the portrait expected--detailing
Thatcher's controversial reign and providing a
sharp criticism of her policies. And while certain
incidents do get decent treatment (the Falklands
War), others are ridiculously short-shrifted (the
I actually felt
similarly when I first saw the film but watching
it again on Blu-Ray and making the concentrated
choice to not force my own expectations on the
work, I was able to appreciate what and who Lloyd,
Streep and screenwriter Abi Morgan were trying
to portray: a Titan in her twilight, haunted by
the harsh realities of age, forced to reflect
on her life and career, regretting nothing and
wishing she was still in that coveted and reviled
position of power. For Maggie, in the end, is
just like everyone else in decrepitude--helpless,
The Blu-Ray 1080p
HD transfer is visually stunning boasting sharp
colors and a stirring sense of depth. The pomp
of the successful years bursts on the small screen.
The DTS-HD MA
5.1 audio is crisp and so intense that a bomb
blast sent my receiver into safety mode blowing
All this makes
the paltry supplemental features all the more
Besides a stingy
12-minute Making-of featurette that whets our
whistle there are 4 mini-docus that run under
3 minutes each!!! And no Deleted Scenes are provided
nor is there a commentary! You have one of the
greatest actresses of all-time starring in a film
that brings her her third Oscar and you don't
deliver more Meryl? More content? Shame! I can
only hope this means a deluxe edition is being
My Week With Marilyn
Blu Ray Review
Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne, Emma
Watson, Julia Ormond, Toby Jones, Dominic Cooper,
Judi Dench, Dougray Scott, Derek Jacobi, Zoe Wanamaker
Written by Adrian Hodges.
by Frank J. Avella
My Week With Marilyn is a motion picture
that can be more appreciated on Blu-Ray and DVD.
This love letter to one of the most iconic movie
stars to ever grace the silver screen has a warm
coziness that can be lost on the big screen.
Sure the obvious
and cliché-ridden script by Adrian Hodges
remains the chief problem with the movie but the
cast and production team more than make up for
In the summer of
1956, the most famous woman in the world, Marilyn
Monroe, landed in England for the very first time
to begin principle photography on The Prince
and the Showgirl, a film that would co-star
and be directed by the most celebrated stage actor
of his time, Sir Laurence Olivier. It was a monumental
pairing of an aging, but brilliant, egotist with
an erratic, needy and neurotic Hollywood star.
Talk about olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
23-year old Colin Clark, an aspiring filmmaker,
got his first job as the third assistant director
on that very set. Forty years later he would write
a detailed account of the six-month shoot titled,
The Prince, the Showgirl and Me. He would
then write a follow-up memoir titled, My Week
With Marilyn, which chronicled a fantastical
weekend he spent with Monroe during that time.
The film is based on both books. Basically Clark
becomes Monroe’s go-to boy once hubby Arthur
Miller flees her side.
Simon Curtis, responsible
for Cranford and many other terrific Brit TV dramas,
does a fabulous job of capturing the period and
getting the movie-set look perfect.
The actors seem
to be thoroughly immersed in their characterizations.
is a delight as Colin and, since he isn’t
saddled with playing someone we know, etches a
splendidly sweet portrayal of a boy completely
transfixed by a goddess but also horny for a girl
(and they happen to come in the same sexy package).
Olivier is a masterful impersonation and yet he
gives us deep insight into a man who longs to
be more famous than he already is while trying
to remain an artist. Most of his best moments
involve little dialogue—Branagh’s
face simply says it all.
Dame Judi Dench
in the tiny role of Sybil Thorndike enlivens every
moment she is in. And Dougray Scott is Arthur
Miller to a frightening T.
Oscar nominee Michelle
Williams has the greatest challenge on her hands
with Monroe and mostly triumphs. She has the pouty
look, the sexy movements, the charm, the insecurities,
the sweetness and when she isn’t forced
to utter obvious lines like: “Please don’t
forget me,” she is magnificent. It’s
more than impersonation; it’s the best embodiment
possible given the limitations.
Williams won me
over even more the second time. She charms in
unexpectedly spectacular and sublimely subtle
ways--as I’m certain the real Marilyn did.
It’s a fitting tribute, indeed.
The 1080p video
transfer is clear and gorgeous with colors popping.
The visuals are simply stunning and exemplify
the terrific work of the design team.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1
audio is crisp and clean. The dialogue is clear
and the music simply enhances the overall experience.
There are only
two Special Features: a fascinating audio commentary
by director Simon Curtis where he basically discusses
all aspects of the experience as well as a cast/crew
puff piece titled ‘The Untold Story of an
American Icon,’ which runs 19- minutes.
While I enjoyed the docu, it coulda/shoulda been
much longer and much more insightful—especially
since everyone involved contributed.
film is what matters and, Hodges biopic-trapped
screenplay notwithstanding, the Blu-Ray of
My Week With Marilyn is a high-def triumph.