“The Post” is directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, and Bob Odenkirk. The film is about the true story of the Washington Post, and the battle between the publisher, the editor, and the US government on whether or not to run a story against a series of presidents who covered up crucial information about the Vietnam War.
Spielberg, Hanks, Streep, who wouldn’t be excited for this film? Combine that with a premise that felt very timely, and very much like the 2015 sensation, “Spotlight,” and I was dying to see what this incredible trio could create together.
Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep obviously are tremendous in this movie, as each of them show the conflict and the pressure of the situation terrifically well. Hanks really stands out as Ben Bradlee, as he always demands attention with his hard-nosed attitude and confidence that he simply exudes. Streep, on the other hand, does a great job portraying an often conflicted, but also intelligent character in Kay Graham, and the amount of levels Streep gives this character allows the story to feel more genuine, and more interesting.
Once the film really hits its stride, it becomes absolutely enthralling and full of energy. Similar to what “Spotlight” accomplished, Steven Spielberg makes journalism feel visceral and absolutely essential, and that is a tremendous feat to create, especially in the times we are living in. These characters always feel frantic and important, and the thrills that are created from simply putting words to paper is incredible to watch.
There are loads of supporting performances to appreciate after getting over just how great Hanks and Streep are. Bob Odenkirk is consistently tense and entertaining to watch, Sarah Paulson is great in her minimal role, as is Tracy Letts, Jesse Plemons, and the always superb Michael Stuhlbarg, who should get an honorary Oscar for being in three of the best movies of the year with this, “The Shape of Water,” and “Call Me by Your Name”. These performances, along with a handful of others, help to add to the insane amount of pressure involved in the situation, and they make the movie all that more interesting to watch.
The script, done by “Spotlight” writer Josh Singer, is tremendous, and nearly captures the same magic as his previous effort. The conversations feel very real, and add a lot to the characters and the plot that is going on. All of this dialogue backed by another fantastic John Williams score doesn’t hurt, either.
The movie starts a bit slow, especially with a relatively awkward coffee meeting between Hanks and Streep at the beginning. I am sure this was the point of the scene, but the dialogue wasn’t as sharp, and I couldn’t get totally on board with the conversation. I also thought the very end of the movie could have been better executed, as it leaves on a rather cheesy note, while also feeling unnecessarily like a cliffhanger in a movie that should obviously not get a sequel.
The biggest issue to be had with “The Post” is that, at quite a few points, it simply seems like the movie is about the wrong newspaper. Sure, what Streep’s character of Kay did during this time is worth being told, and the performance is top notch, but the New York Times broke this story first, did all the deep diving, and also had the most to lose, and it felt like a movie about the Times and the Pentagon Papers would have been more fixated towards the truth, and more towards who should really be celebrated.
“The Post” is tremendously acted, brilliantly written, and very well-directed while consistently staying interesting and tense throughout. This is an important movie about how crucial strong journalism is, and Spielberg nails both that aspect, as well as the potency and controversy surrounding this specific topic at that time. I wish, at the least, the New York Times’ original article was given more of a chance to shine, but with the movie that has been made, “The Post” nails the intensity and the importance of what happened involving the Pentagon Papers.
What did you think of “The Post”? Comment below with your thoughts.