Thatcher The Early Years
"Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley" is a light hearted look at the early years of Margaret Thatcher as she entered politics, met Dennis Thatcher and had to fight the old school mentality and sexism as she refused to give up on becoming a politician. That is the single like synopsis which you will find pretty much everywhere when looking for information on this BBC movie and to be honest is actually all you need to know as it describes what goes on during this movie perfectly. But there is one thing which is also worth mentioning and it is important as this isn't a movie about Thatcher's politics which still leaves some spitting feathers but more of a comedy about a woman trying to make it in the sexist world of politics.
Now I really want to say that "Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley" is great but I don't know something about it just didn't work for me, although it did grow on me. The thing is that as I said it is everything that the one line synopsis suggests it is. As such we do see how the young Margaret had to deal with old school sexism from grey haired politicians who would pat her back side to those who were surprised by the fact she was a candidate. At the same time we see all the old school back slapping, pipe smoking and alcohol swigging during the day.
We also see how Margaret met Dennis with him not being exactly what her father Alfred would wish for his daughter although it suggests at the same time that Margaret bossed both Dennis and her father, doing what she wanted. But more importantly and what makes "Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley" work is Andrea Riseborough's fantastic performance as young Margaret. Riseborough makes her a driven woman who not only didn't know when to stop but also didn't realise when she was rubbing people up the wrong way especially Edward Heath. But at the same time Riseborough gives us just a glimpse behind the front and when she fails to win her first campaign you can see the sense of disappointment in her eyes as you do when she constantly suffers at the hands of the old boy network at one point almost ready to give up.
Alongside Riseborough's performance we also have some amusing writing which drops in elements hinting of the future. There is a young Mark wanting to go to Africa and a young Carol reading Jungle Book which work if you are aware of what happened to Mark Thatcher later on in life in Africa whilst Carol was in the jungle in "I'm a Celebrity Get Me out of Here". Plus there is the amusing line when Margaret dances with Edward Heath and says you lead I will follow. Of course you need to have some awareness for it to work such as Margaret on her honeymoon abroad in Europe wanting a refund but there is also some surprising innuendo thrown in as well which simply works.
What this all boils down to is that "Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley" is an entertaining and light hearted look at Thatcher The Early Years and it is a movie which the longer you watch the more it entertains. But for me there is something about it which I can't quite put my finger on which doesn't quite work.