Streep hits red carpet for British premiere of Thatcher film

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Meryl Streep, whose portrayal of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady" is tipped for an Oscar, takes to the red carpet Wednesday for the film's European premiere in London.

Streep's performance has earned her a a Golden Globe nomination, putting her in line to win the third Oscar of her career next month.

Few of Thatcher's cabinet colleagues or rivals have seen the film, which opens in Britain on Friday, yet many of those who have say Streep has captured the essence of the Conservative prime minister who changed the face of Britain.

Charles Moore, who is writing Thatcher's authorised biography, said: "She captures the intense, uneasy, passionate woman rising to greatness, the Gloriana figure at the height of her power, and the rather touching old lady known to her intimates as 'Lady T'."

Streep, 62, has confessed she knew little about Thatcher's policies before accepting the role but said she saw the film as less about politics and more about "what was the cost of her political decisions on her as a human being".

Director Phyllida Lloyd -- the woman behind "Mamma Mia!" -- starts the film in the present day, with an elderly Thatcher clearing out her late husband Denis's clothes, although his ghost, played by Jim Broadbent, is ever present.

The film has not met with unanimous critical acclaim, and Bernard Ingham, Thatcher's loyal press secretary when she was in office, has taken issue with the portrayal of his old boss, now aged 86, as "demented".

"She is not demented when I see her," he wrote in the Yorkshire Post.

"She takes a lively interest in what I have to tell her about the latest follies and, while prevented by loss of short-term memory from cross-examining and arguing with me, she clearly shows her frustration in wishing to do so."

"The Iron Lady" has already opened in Australia and the United States.

© 2012 AFP

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