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He also thinks it marks a turning point, an end to the days when Britons had to choose sides on Thatcher _ love her or hate her.

“You have to be over 40 to hate Mrs. Thatcher,” Moore said. “Young people just want to know about her.”

Still, some of the Thatcherite faithful say they will be staying away from the film.

“There must be something wrong with it if it’s converting all these lefty women to the view that she was something rather good,” said Bernard Ingham, Thatcher’s long-serving press secretary.

He says that if people “want to know what Margaret Thatcher was like they shouldn’t go anywhere near it.”

Meryl Streep may be a good actress,” he said, “but she ain’t Thatcher.”

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Jill Lawless can be reached at: http://twitter.com/JillLawless