Quick Hit: Hard hitting and presently poignant.
I’m often pretty turned off when a movie starts to preach to me. I’m all for finding new information in a film that could send me on a biography spiral, or interest me in a brand new historical topic. I’m even pro movies that give me a definitive point, one that they say is right while others say it is wrong. But there is normally a line in some movies where it would be easy to start to say that your way is the only way, that your way is the best way and everyone else is stupid for thinking that. And while I agree with the fundamental thesis of The Post, I can’t help but feel a bit preached to.
Really, I’m getting ahead of myself, because there are actually two main theses within this layered onion of a film. First, there’s the ever important First Amendment rights rule containing the freedom of speech and freedom of press. Paralleling this point is that of women in the American (and worldly) workplace, and the struggle that they have continually faced. Representing each of these points individually, but also the other points, are Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, respectively. Hanks plays Ben Bradlee, the hard hitting head of the Washington Post – who has the Pentagon Papers fall into his hands. Streep plays Kay Graham, owner and publisher of the Post, which passed to her when her husband committed suicide.
The film, directed with typical Spielsbergian flair, is pretty entertaining. Featuring an absolutely dynamite cast, starting with Hanks and Streep, and being fully rounded out with Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, Sarah Paulson, Alison Brie, and numerous others, The Post is anything but boring. Spielberg keeps a tight pace that accelerates throughout the film – consistently bringing us to what we think is the climax, only to ramp it once more. Each performer does really well, but Streep and Odenkirk stick out for me. Streep gives a nuanced performance as a woman used to being ignored despite being capable, and Odenkirk shows the same handle of humor and drama that he has brought to the wonderful Better Call Saul. Hanks is solid, but at times loses himself amongst a role that is a bit harder than normal, as well as portraying an accent that isn’t quite up to par at times.
I mentioned the pace previously, but other technical aspects of the film are fairly standard. There are only a few scenes that filled me with the normal bits of cinematic wonder – one in which featured the set-up of the printing press – that Spielberg’s teams normally invoke in me. And while John Williams continues to score films, I didn’t find the music to be exceptional, but only average in a “ya, it’s there” sense.
Is The Post worth seeing? I would say yes, if only because it’s so hard hitting. With President Trump continually voicing concerns about the media, and the #metoo movement coming across our stages, First Amendment and women’s rights are in the front of all our minds, as they are in this film. I think you’ll enjoy it. I’m giving it a “B”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"