The Iron Lady Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Review

The Iron Lady is a biopic of the UK’s first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The plot revolves around pivotal moments within Thatcher’s life, including her election campaign, the outbreak of war in the Falkland Islands and the assassination of Airey Neave. It is due to reach cinemas in the new year, on the 6th January and is a nationwide release.  The film was directed by Phyllida Lloyd who is best known for Abba-inspired Romantic Comedy Mamma Mia which starred Meryl Streep.  Streep returns in this film with an Oscar tipped performance of Thatcher.

With this calibre of talent and historical pressure to live up to Lloyd has quite rightly secured Thomas Newman to compose an orchestral soundtrack to the piece. I had the chance to listen to it ahead of schedule. Perhaps I was expecting a rehash of The Queen soundtrack but I was pleasantly surprised. This was electric simplicity. The soundscape perfectly reflects the 1980’s glamour but retains the distinguished English orchestral overtones.  Newman has been nominated for 10 Oscars but is yet to receive an award. He consistently writes popular soundtracks and has defined filmic history with such tracks as By Any Other Name from American Beauty and the title track from The Shawshank Redemption.  This is the latest in a line of long hopes for the recognition he quite rightly deserves.

I love this soundtrack it is stoic, moody and modern. There is no apology or appeasement; it is a perfect illustration of Margaret Thatcher. Particular favourites of mine would be Track 21 ‘Steady the Buffs’ a piano’s delicate solo with a choir of violins and strings.  I also love Track 18 for entirely different reasons; an electric guitar provides initial tension which is then built with a full orchestra and electric synth. Get your hands on this album and have a listen it is a thorough recommendation from me. The cynic inside is whispering that this film has been made for an American audience and reflects their current fiscal crisis and attitudes to war rather than the averages Britons.  I will be interested to hear how the film is received this side of the Atlantic.

Lauren Hounsome

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