Helen Mirren gives nuanced performance as controversial historical figure Golda Meir in ‘Golda’

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CONTROVERSIAL as she is brilliant, Golda Mabovitch Meir, who hailed from downtown Kiev (now Kyiv) in Ukraine, made history in Israeli politics as the country’s first and only female prime minister, who held the position from March 1969 to June 1974.

If the United Kingdom had Margaret Thatcher as its so-called “Iron Lady,” Meir was Israel’s version. She was known for her strong stand on many issues, particularly with regard to the Palestinians, but these did not stop her from making difficult decisions, particularly in the areas of labor and foreign policy.

Many times, her life and achievements were immortalized in both stage and movies, the latest of which is the biopic “Golda.”

A riveting thriller, Golda is a must-see for history buffs and fans of political dramas. Transporting audiences to the heart of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, it recounts a period marked by intense conflict and uncertainty for Israel. Over the course of 19 nail-biting days, Prime Minister Golda Meir, portrayed with gritty determination by Helen Mirren, finds herself at the epicenter of a crisis that threatens the very existence of her nation.

Helen Mirren portrays the titular character

With the shadow of Israel’s total annihilation looming, Meir must outmaneuver her doubtful cabinet and navigate a complex web of international relations, particularly with the enigmatic US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, convincingly portrayed by Liev Schreiber. As the clock ticks down, Meir’s unwavering leadership and deep compassion are put to the ultimate test, with millions of lives hanging in the balance. Golda is a story of resilience, strategy, and the heavy burden of leadership, leaving viewers to ponder the controversial legacy of one of the world’s most formidable political figures.

On portraying such a complex and divisive figure on screen, Helen Mirren told BBC News: “All I’m doing is playing Golda during the period of the Yom Kippur War. I’m not explaining her, rationalizing her, or reappraising her. I’m just playing a woman of that age dealing with that situation.”

Meanwhile, director Guy Nativ says that this film explores Meir’s complicated legacy instead of simply hailing her as a hero: “I was raised with a narrative that we were stronger, more powerful, and that we won. Golda Meir was a hero. However, what I learned throughout my adult years is that it’s not the case. It was a dreadful war; we lost almost 3,000 soldiers. There was a big failure with a lot of units. Within this, I found Meir to be a fascinating character, very complicated. Aside from a TV movie in the 1980s, no one had tackled her character in such depth.”

Witness Helen Mirren deliver a powerhouse performance as Golda Meir in “Golda,” premiering exclusively on Lionsgate Play on PLDT Home this March 8.

Others in the cast include Camille Cottin, Ellie Piercy, Rami Heuberger, Lior Ashkenazi, Liev Schreiber, Dominic Mafham, Ed Stoppard, and Henry Goodman. “Golda” is directed by Guy Nattiv, with screenplay by Nicholas Martin.

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