If you've ever heard the old postulate "The sum of the parts is greater than the whole", then watching "The Iron Lady" is the case study of the theory as applied to film.


Meryl Streep has offered up some memorable roles, especially of late and yet though she has been nominated 16 times, she has only won twice. The last time she won was nearly 29 years ago for "Sophies Choice." OUCH!


I was one of her champions in 2010 for her most impressive role as Julia Child in "Julie and Julia". That was a role that she nailed better than any other she performed; I literally forgot I was watching an actress and thought I was watching the chef. Yet she was overlooked (for the lovely Sandra Bullock in "The Blindside")

I have absolutely no doubt that Ms Streep will receive her 17 best actress nomination for her role as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady". And, I have no doubt that she will not win because the film doesn't live up to her performance. For that matter, it doesn't live up to the wonderful repartee between she and Jim Broadbent who plays her husband.


Briefly, "Iron Lady" is a biopic that chronicles the life of Margaret Thatcher from her pre-political days youthful days (portrayed by Alexandra Roach) up to her winning the post as Prime minister to her abrupt resignation in disgrace.


In a retrospective look back through her own eyes, as she is in ill health, at her tenuous relationship with Parliament and handling of the Falkland War.


It was the Falkland War, a seemingly needless military venture after Argentina invaded the cold rock off their shore, that she got her nickname. Her impatience with diplomacy and determination that military action was the only resolve regardless of needless human loss on both sides.

It was from that point that she was scorned as someone completely out of touch with the masses as England's employment and economic issues came to the forefront. He divisive attitude that turned the country against her but brings about wonderful musings about her relationship with her husband Denis who has since passed and is portrayed in flashback and as a specter.


Unfortunately, this is nothing that can't be looked up in Wikipedia.


Herein lies the biggest problem with the film. Director Phyllida Moore - whose previous work includes "Mamma Mia" that had Streep singing and dancing - fails to add any personality to the story. It's as if she turned the entire feel of the film over to Streep and said "Do that thing you do so well."


And though Streep captures Thatcher perfectly, just like she captured Julia Child, the story winds up being a stream of facts rather than a compelling narrative. PBS probably has more exciting and interesting in their archives.


So, once again Streep embodies her character like few can do with the unfortunate fate of being in the wrong movie. "Julie and Julia" was criticized as being to fluffy; this goes 180 degrees to absolutely no fluff.


"The Iron Lady" is an almost sterile, empty look at an important historical figure wasting one of the great performances from one of the greatest performers in Hollywood. Meryl Streep will surely get a nomination that will go unfulfilled once again.   -- GEOFF BURTON