The Iron Lady, an eagerly awaited biopic in which Meryl Streep plays former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, has remained one of the few Oscar hopefuls still shrouded in mystery, skipping the fall festival circuit and revealing just a glimpse of itself in a brief teaser. But now, with the film's Dec. 30 release date just weeks away, a full-length trailer has finally been released (watch it below). The epic biopic chronicles Thatcher's rise to power, the days leading up to 1982's Falklands War, and the doubt and drama in the personal life of the woman who was the U.K.'s first (and thus far, only) female prime minister. Here, four things awards gurus and critics are buzzing about:
1. Streep's Oscar nomination is inevitable
This is a "sure-to-be-Oscar-nominated performance," says Lanford Beard at Entertainment Weekly. Streep deftly walks a tightrope between "Thatcher's tough-as-nails political persona and her personal vulnerability." The ferocity with which the actress barks, "Cowardice!" is "legitimately intimidating," says Amanda Dobbins at New York, while the clip's final line — "Gentlemen, shall we join the ladies?" — hints that she'll "get plenty of big lines with which to work her Oscar magic."
2. The film seems to fairly portray a divisive leader
The Iron Lady's Thatcher has "both verve and intelligence," says George Wales at Total Film. Better yet, Streep's interpretation appears to "transcend party politics," says Cristina Odone at the U.K.'s Telegraph. That's refreshing, considering Hollywood could easily have churned out a film that shows Thatcher as a "megalomaniac and a ball-breaker." And "thanks to a booming soundtrack and snappy editing," says Ali Plumb at Empire Online, "Meryl's Maggie is much more of a rock star than most people remember."
3. The direction looks surprisingly excellent
The biggest surprise of the trailer "is how good it looks," says Katey Rich at Cinema Blend. The cinematography, at least in this first glimpse, is stunning and very creative. That's quite shocking, considering that The Iron Lady is directed by Phyllida Lloyd, who also directed Streep in Mamma Mia! — a film "that could charitably be called mediocre."
4. But it's a bit like The King's Speech
The Oscar pandering couldn't be more transparent, says Matt Goldberg at Collider. Having Oscar Queen Meryl Streep star as a famous historical figure is one thing — "there's no faster way to an Oscar nomination" — but "I was stunned" to see a scene lifted straight out of The King's Speech, in which Thatcher does vocal exercises. It's a wonder the studio didn't brand the clip with the words, "For Your Consideration." Now that the film has set up the blatant comparison to The King's Speech, says Charlie Derry at Britscene, it's going to have to live up to that high standard.