The Iron Lady: Arthur’s Ambition

Review: In the wrenching ‘Armageddon Time,’ a filmmaker powerfully confronts his own privilege as the son of a working class family in a Northern England slum.

The great news is that this new film has a much stronger script than The Iron Lady, and, as it turns out, is more like a modern social drama than a conventional British period-piece. It’s also the most effective drama of a long time, but you should not rush out to rent it.

If you’ve been watching British television for the past decade, you might have noticed that the main characters always look exactly the same, and that a lot of the plots are as predictable as a house of cards. I was surprised by how hard I worked to separate Michael Fassbender from the rest of the cast. He was always the heart of the movie, but he wasn’t always the one who was speaking, or who was moving.

If there’s one point where all this makes sense, it’s when Ewan McGregor’s character, Arthur, makes an unexpected speech on page 1, about how he always gets told he’ll never be rich and famous. Arthur then goes on to tell his father, a miner who has just left his wife and children, that he wants to be famous in the same way that Arthur is now famous.

Arthur’s ambition is an intriguing departure from the usual script-driven hero film, with a new twist on an old theme. I enjoyed seeing Arthur’s struggle, and I thought that the ending of the film was a little hokey, but the drama of Arthur’s story was well worth the ticket price. If you have the money and the time, you might also see the movie in 3D, or you wouldn’t be the first person to make this suggestion.

“It was the most un-charming I have seen the film in quite some time.”

—Richard Brody, RogerEbert.com

One of the joys of the film is that it’s so funny and so full of heart. I loved watching Ewan McGregor’s life and career. I loved watching Stephen Rea and Eddie Marsan. And I loved the way the film doesn’t hold all the pieces together for long,

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