When you gather big name talent like Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks for a film people sit up and take notice. It is almost like even before the release of such a film that people are not talking about the potential of Oscar nominations, but rather, how many. Though this was a solid film for me it was not anything special. Not in the light of what those three have accomplished in their careers.
Now, don’t think I am just a hater who tries to tear down films that everyone likes. Not true. The opinion is based purely upon merit. Though The Post is a solid film it is not even in the top 5 of films the big three have starred in. The blame (though it is not really blame per se as it is a good film) has to be laid squarely at the feet of director Steven Spielberg (Ready Player One, Bridge of Spies). Or more precisely how he has chosen to plot out the film. It is a rather interesting story.
My biggest problem is with the pacing of the film. It plods along at a snail’s pace that manages to lull you into a state of believing that nothing is really going on here. Then about two-thirds into the film the pace suddenly quickens like Spielberg woke up an realized that he has a large portion of the story to tell in a short time.
Another issue I had was the lack of emotion here. Strange as there is plenty of drama to be found here. Throughout most of the film it seems rather cold and detached rather than indignant and passionate. It is almost as if Spielberg does not want to come across as too heavy handed and as a result the film has a rather hesitant feel to it.
I adore Meryl Streep and could enjoy watching her read a phonebook. There is nothing the lady cannot do in my eyes. Drama, comedy, musicals, and even the trickiest of accents. All have been not only checked off her career list, but done so well. Rare is the film which she stars in that I don’t enjoy. Mostly due to her. That being said she possesses so much talent that I expect her to do something new each time out. Something that stretches her acting muscles and adds to her already impressive catalogue of film roles. Here, once again, she brings to life a real woman. Here she is tasked with creating a woman who does not know she has a voice until she is put in the position to use it.
In this low point in American politics and government, it is important to remember this type of atmosphere is not an isolated one. It has happened before. Government cover ups and general shadiness, I mean. In this particular time we are looking at the publishing of the Pentagon Papers. The cover up which involved the Vietnam War and four U.S. Presidents. It came down to a battle over civil rights in regards to a newspaper’s, Washington Post, ability to print a story.
At the center of this fight/dilemma is the publisher of the paper, Katherine Graham (Out of Africa, August: Osage County). She is the first female head of a paper. She and her right hand man, the paper’s editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks – Cast Away, Forrest Gump), have to risk being arrested if they print the huge story they have.
The courts had already stopped the New York Times from printing the story. Now the evidence falls into the hands of the Washington Post, a smaller and somewhat floundering paper. Now the weight of the decision falls squarely on the shoulders of Graham, who has to decide whether to risk all that her family and husband have created with a paper that is already a wounded animal.
Several of the themes here – the media vs. the President – really ring true to today in the U.S. This film really shows why certain Presidents have hated the media. The media is there to check the government and some Presidents have really not appreciated that. The Post reminds us that an important pillar of a democracy is the media and the fact that they All that happens resonates with what is happening today.
- Layout: Katharine Graham, Ben Bradlee & The Washington Post
- Editorial: The Cast and Characters of The Post
- The Style Section: Re-Creating an Era
- Stop the Presses: Filming The Post
- Arts and Entertainment: Music for The Post