Iron Lady, The

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Short takes

Not suitable under 10; not recommended 10-13; parental guidance recommended 13-15 (Violent and disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Iron Lady, The
  • a review of Iron Lady, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 December 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not suitable due to violent and disturbing scenes. The film also lacks interest for this age group.
Children aged 10-13 Not recommended due to violent and disturbing scenes
Children 13-15 Parental guidance recommended due to violent and disturbing scenes

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Iron Lady, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes and violence
Length: 105 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Iron Lady is a biography of Margaret Thatcher; Britain’s longest reining Prime Minister (from 1979 to 1990) and the first female Prime Minister in the western world.

Meryl Streep plays the adult Margaret Thatcher with Jim Broadbent as her husband, Dennis. The movie features Margaret Thatcher looking back on her life in old age. Snippets are shown of her youth and her political years from the perspective of her older self, showing her unapologetic push to rise in the political ranks and her controversial reign.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Family breakdown; illness and old age; politics; terrorism

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Verbally aggressive sequences in parliament where politicians shout insults at each other. Members of parliament scream and shout abuse at each other.
  • Many scenes of rioting are shown where protestors are battling with police. Items are thrown, batons are used, and people are punched and pushed. People are shown bloodied and on the ground. Police horses are also involved.
  • Scenes from the Falklands War, including missiles and the bombing of warships, are shown. The burnt bodies of sailors killed when their ship was hit by a missile are shown and the deaths of sailors are frequently mentioned.
  • A number of terrorist bombs are shown. A car bombing of one of Margaret Thatcher’s colleagues is heard and the burnt car body is shown. A bomb explodes at the hotel where Margaret is staying with Dennis. The room is destroyed and Dennis walks through a room covered in debris.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the violent scenes described above

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the violent scenes described above

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the violent scenes described above

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the violent scenes described above

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • The Times newspaper
  • Lucozade
  • Moet Champagne

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • A woman bares her breasts at sailors returning home from battle
  • A couple kiss

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • cigarette and cigar smoking
  • social drinking of alcohol

Coarse language

There is some coarse mild language in this movie, including:

  • damn it
  • go to hell

In a nutshell

The Iron Lady is a movie showing the rise of Margaret Thatcher; an ambitious woman rising through the ranks in a male dominated profession. Aggressive conflict scenes of both verbal and physical violence are balanced by more sensitive scenes of an older woman reflecting on her life.

The main message from this movie is:

  • The equality of women– Never had a woman been the leader of a political party or the leader of a western country. Margaret Thatcher had to prove that a woman was capable of being a strong political leader by convincing the Conservative Party to support her and the general public to vote for her.

 Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • determination and perseverance
  • children are the future leaders and should be encouraged to pursue their ambitions and dreams.

Parents may also wish to discuss a number of issues raised by the film, including:

  • political unrest
  • terrorism
  • Alzheimer’s Disease / Dementia