The Post (2018)
Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: Liz Hannah, Josh Singer
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hr 56 min.
My 2 Cents:
The Post covers a pivotal time in American history. Top-secret documents, part of a field study on the war in Vietnam, were released to the press. First to the New York Times, and then The Washington Post. The documents outlined the government’s strategy to hide their findings from the public. They knew the war wasn’t winnable, but said the contrary to the American people. The cover-up spanned four U. S. Presidents, and the release of the papers drew the ire of the Nixon administration.
The Post sets out to do two things. One, act as a timely reminder that freedom of the press is vitally important to a functioning democracy, and two, make a statement about equal rights and how women should be treated in the workplace. On both counts, I believe the film pretty much succeeds, even if I found the portrayal of Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) as a role model for women of that era a touch on the nose. Having her wade through crowds of doe-eyed secretaries right before she marches into a boardroom full of men, may have been efficient storytelling, but I found it a little over the top for my taste.
The balance between telling an entertaining story that moves and audience, while also making sure the nuts and bolts of history are honored, is mostly organized well. The Post builds slowly to properly cover the basics of the situation and the characters mixed up in it, and then speeds things up as it gets closer to the paper’s controversial decision to publish. I personally found the first two acts a little slower than they needed to be, and the buildup to the finale reminiscent to every other movie I’ve seen representing the news media. But that’s just me being nitpicky as there is still so much to enjoy here.
Saying The Post is well directed, and that the performances from Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks were good, feels completely redundant—of course they were good, it’s Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks! The entire cast was good. John Williams’ score was good. Janusz Kaminski’s cinematography was good. This is a good film, and very timely given our current political climate, and the incredible speed at which information is delivered to the public via the World Wide Web.
The Post, in a way, is also a love letter to a bygone age when we had time to investigate and process information from trusted professional journalists. Today, news blogs written by citizen hacks can reach millions of people and spread false information in return for clicks and ad revenue. The Post reminds us, quite effectively, to look for trusted resources and not rely on social media or click-bate blogs for important news information.