‘A Little Scary’: Gillian Anderson’s Disturbing Portrayal of Thatcher in The Crown | The crown

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TMargaret Thatcher’s arrival in season four of The Crown was highly anticipated: Gillian Anderson is gorgeous, Thatcher was an icon no matter how you cut it, popcorn, etc.

In fact, when he arrived, Anderson’s performance was baffling. Damian Barr, author of Maggie & Me, Not a Conservative, puts it a little more strongly: “I call it post-Thatcher stress syndrome. A lot of people are actually triggered by this. ”

“Triggered” is a strong word, but maybe I’m just saying it because I’m over 40. But the performance manages to be both hard to stomach and smelly at the same time, two very different things, rarely combined.

On the first, people find it hard, as Barr describes it, “to see her in human situations when they have only known her as an inhuman politician.” It is a real challenge for people who lived Thatcher. She is seen a victim of snobbery, dressed in the wrong clothes, arriving at the wrong time to dine with the Queen at Balmoral. We see it being upgraded. We are implicitly asked to respond empathically to someone who didn’t have one herself, who thought society was for the losers, who (it’s sort of worse) also thought the buses were for the losers. losers (it’s alleged but not verified that she told anyone on a buses over 26 should consider themselves a failure – like Peter Mandelson asking if mushy peas in a chip shop were guacamole, no matter if it ‘is true, the most important is how true it is It’s heard).

Nausea is different. Anderson plays Thatcher with such attention to his way of being that it’s like seeing the villain’s corpse reanimated, long after the movie ends. His creepy, a little scary. This way of being, moreover, is so idiosyncratic, the voice unlike any other, the predatory stealth of its gait and the frankness of its gaze, that you are constantly testing the mirage against your memory, thinking, “can she?” really have been like this? “

The voice, yes. Famous, she had two sets of speaking lessons, one as a child in the 1930s, and the other when she was Leader of the Opposition in the mid-1970s, aimed at lowering the voice. She is said to have lowered it by 46Hz, which is about half the average height difference between a man’s voice and that of a woman. It seems unlikely to me that she kept this at home while she spoke to Denis, but to give Anderson a break, an extremely artificial British accent by work seems sufficient.

Thatcher’s former private secretary, Caroline Slocock, says her movements were faster and more lively when she was with friends, but certainly on screen, she looked quite pompous and not very generous.

Iain Dale, broadcaster, author and editor of Margaret Thatcher: A Tribute in Words and Pictures, a Tory, remembers her grandmother bursting into tears when Thatcher became Leader of the Opposition. “The left never understood this, they say she wasn’t a feminist, but she did something amazing for women. I remember in the late 1980s my six year old niece told me, “Uncle Iain, can a man be prime minister?”

She was certainly a model, but the version of femininity she modeled was quite complicated, a hyper-feminized costume with that elaborate and practiced harshness (it was, indeed, her stated intention, to prioritize ” vigorous values ​​”(energy, adventure, independence) over” the sweetest virtues “(humility, gentleness, sympathy). Barr repeats this:” Priti Patel is Thatcher’s mind in this way, she internalized toxic male behavior with these highly feminized pussy knots.

And was the politics really that brutal? Sure. She managed to end the post-war social contract, all that soft stuff where we were responsible for each other, cripple heavy industries, reverse what in the 1970s seemed like an inexorable curve, albeit slow, towards greater equality. But there’s that irritating analytical yin-yang where people now assume that, because Thatcher was ruthless and determined, she must have been efficient. I was amazed to read in an American publication that “thanks to the government’s Right to Buy regime … more people have been able to become home owners.”

Yes, for about a nanosecond: Almost half of that stock is now owner-owned and politics has sown the seeds of housing insecurity on a scale Thatcher couldn’t even have imagined.

By 1979 we owned all of our shared utilities and 40% of us also had shares in UK companies. In 2012, 12% of us owned stocks and the rest didn’t own anything. If your basic logic was that she just wanted to make most people’s lives worse – which, to be honest, a lot of us thought at the time – then yes, Thatcher was effective. But if you judge it by its stated intention, it hasn’t been effective at all.

This week saw the 30th anniversary of Thatcher’s resignation. She still has her stans, and they are as deeply moved about her as the people who couldn’t stand her. Dale recalls a reception at the Savoy in 2003. She had had a stroke three weeks before and her job was to keep her off the stage in case she had another one, but he took his eyes off her for a while. second ”and she was standing like lightning and straight to the microphone. It was like a rally in Nuremberg. Some people were shouting ’10 years older’ ”(a note for the youngest reader; it was 13 after his resignation). “She said, ‘Thank you for this reception. It’s the kind of reception that only a former prime minister can receive. “

But sometimes she feels like the ex who’s never really an ex, she’s got us all down on it.

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