Few names provoke instant reaction in the majority of the population. Hitler, Stalin, Gandhi. All powerful, evocative handles, but for anyone under the age of 60, probably felt rather remotely.
Those people exist for us in books and films but we mostly don’t remember them and we certainly didn’t experience their rule directly.
But say the name, Margaret Thatcher, and anyone over the age of say, 35, will have a visceral reaction.
So when is a good time to make a film about a political icon like Mrs T? The woman’s still alive. Are we really ready for a Holywood biopic of the milk-snatching, union-busting, tear-shedding Iron Lady?
I’d have thought not. But then other night I saw an interview with Meryl Streep who plays The Iron Lady in the film, due out next month. I’d heard about it, but presumed that my own memories and opinions of her and her reign would put me off wanting to watch some other, probably sanitised version.
And then I saw some clips and was immediately won over.
Never mind the voice and the look, Meryl Streep has captured the humanity of the woman. And only a person who would rather find no salvation for themselves could turn away from the possiblity of salvation for others. Even for Margaret Thatcher.