Kurt Loder on The Iron Lady and A Separation


Meryl Streep doesn't simply play Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, writes Kurt Loder, she exudes her. With an intense concentration, Streep captures both the chipper intransigence of Britain's first female prime minister (from 1979 to 1990), and—with the aid of uncannily realistic old-age makeup and prosthetics—the lonely dementia of her dotage, into which we are told she is sunk today, at the age of 86.

Meanwhile, the Iranian film A Separation is an unexpected treasure, one of the year's best movies. In it, writer-director Asghar Farhadi presents us with a minor domestic dispute—an argument, an angry shove—and keeps us riveted as it builds into a storm of desperate moral evasions that threaten to capsize several characters' lives.