We have begun to see in Hollywood, a string of movies that have been perfectly timed when examining the current climate of the world. We have seen movies made that tie into the Black Lives Matter movement, the sexual harassment cases in Hollywood and the Trump Administration, and despite The Post being a historical drama, it is all the more relevant. The moral dilemma of holding the government accountable for their actions coupled with the censoring the Press highlights what would seem like a simpler time compared to today. Steven Spielberg’s political drama The Post highlights the important role of journalists and the need for responsible reporting. It delves into the idea of blindly trusting politicians to do the right thing, something many of the protagonist deal with, and something many people struggle with today.
Inspired by the true saga of the Washington Post and The Pentagon Papers, after former Pentagon analyst Daniel Ellsberg, stole a study on America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The evidence was damning; highlighting they were aware they could not win a war in Vietnam and still went to fight anyway. The story follows Kat Graham (Streep), who has inherited The Washington Post from her late husband, as she tries to navigate the male dominated world of finance in an effort to take her newspaper public. This situation becomes more complicated when The Supreme Court puts an injunction in place preventing The New York Times and any other papers from releasing information from The Pentagon Papers. Editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) and his team gain access to the documents with the intention of making the story public, but in doing so could see them go to prison for treason. The decision of what is the right thing falls to Graham in a fantastically tense scene, where she trembles on the phone as she decides the fate of herself and her paper.
When you see the names of Streep and Hanks you know you will get at least a solid performance but what you get is something fantastic. Even the marketing for the movie is aware of the star-power these names posses, with the poster projecting “STREEP HANKS THE POST.” These two are more than just dependable; they easily could carry the movie without a supporting cast, which they luckily don’t have too since the cast is already stacked with some incredible talent. The roster of talent that Spielberg was able to assemble is exceptional, everyone giving a fantastic supporting performances, even those with minor roles still offer a high level of impact to the film.
In an age of click bait titles and a 24 hour news cycle it is astounding the work that went into sourcing a story, chasing leads and the risks associated with posting against the Government. The reporters had to get the facts right, being first was as important as being right, something that seems lost in todays media setting where few report the news and everyone just re-blogs or re-post’s someone else’s work. It was the drive, the research and the risk of these journalists that started the downward trajectory that would lead to the impeachment of Richard Nixon. The film ends with Nixon on the phone explaining how every reporter from the Washington Post is barred from entering the White House, sounds a touch familiar doesn’t it?
The Post is another solid outing from Steven Spielberg as a filmmaker. It may not be in his upper echelon of films but it still a great film for those who enjoy his work, or those who enjoy political intrigue in their cinemas. The film is made the success it is by so many factors, but its timeliness and its performances are key elements that make it stand out.
The Post is a must see if you appreciate Spielberg’s style of telling historical drama. If you are interested in a topical movie inspired by true event then this is for you.
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