The central character is Kathryn Graham (the “extremely overrated” Meryl Streep), the owner of the Washington Post, and the sole female at the table of white males on the paper's board of directors. Her editor-in-chief is the legendary Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), who oversees the gaggle of hard working, balding, hustle & bustling reporters that write for the publication. The time is the early stages of Richard Nixon's presidency when employee Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) of the RAND Corporation made the bold decision to release a study from Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood) revealing the corrupt and unnecessary Vietnam war that spanned for four different U.S. Presidents and a total of 19 years. The drama lies in the decisions to be made by members of the paper, the battle between the free press, and a president that wanted to shut them up. Sound familiar?
It would be too simple to declare that The Post is a film needed for the times we are living in. A story of this magnitude will not only wake up audiences to the importance of the freedom of press, but also makes working as a journalist look damn sexy. The laser focus from Spielberg and his cinematographer Janus Kaminski creates an intense and engaging pace. The stellar performances from Streep and Hanks only add to the great script from Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, because the in-depth study of the subject matter is spot on. It's a trip back in time to the era of political discourse, which now seems quite tame by today's standards. The journalists (a true who's who of character actors that includes: Bob Odenkirk, Pat Healy, Carrie Coon, David Cross, and the fantastic Tracy Letts) all knew their responsibilities, as Graham and Bradlee balance the backlash that will arrive on the doors of politicians they once had close friendships with. The decision to go to print hangs in the balance, where you can cut the tension with an exact-o knife, as the threats of attack by the president loom over the choice that Graham makes.
I can understand if most audiences or viewers of award shows have grown tired of the praise that Meryl Streep receives on a yearly basis. At this point, you may as well pencil her into the best actress category every year. Frankly, I don't care how tired you are, her performance as Graham is stellar. She is poised and portraying a women who is up against the male privilege in business and the board members who have zero confidence that she could make a paper succeed. Behind Streep's work, is another solid, subtle, and stoic performance from Hanks. The Castaway star has delivered solid work in Captain Phillips, Bridge of Spies and Sully over the last three years, with very few award nominations to show for it. Hanks is a legend and true example of a Jimmy Stewart-like actor for today. His work as Bradlee is as good as it gets.
There are so many reasons for audiences to go and see The Post. It is cinema at the highest level, where the story, that we could learn simply by doing a Google search, is as engaging and intense as if we didn't know how it ended. It obviously makes a perfect pairing with films such as Spotlight and All The President's Men, but it is also prime Spielberg. He is working on the level he has for films like Munich or Schindler's List and that's why he is always one of the best. I am an enormous champion for The Post. It honors our freedoms, it tells a fantastic story about a woman against all-odds, and it reminds us why the press is a vital part of the world we live in. The Post speaks truth to power.
Written by: Leo Brady
MOVIE: THE POST
STARRING: MERYL STREEP; TOM HANKS; TRACY LETTS; BOB ODENKIRK
DIRECTED BY: STEVEN SPIELBERG
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 4 STARS (Out of 4)
More than ever, we need a movie as great as The Post. Living in these times, where our commander in chief regurgitates his grotesque, impulsive urges, vomiting his vitriol about what he calls “fake news” on a daily basis, the time is now to go see Steven Spielberg’s newest cinematic masterpiece. This film is teaching the American audience how important it is to have newspapers, the freedom of the press, and the reporters who cover the U.S. Government. That is the main objective. The process and people who took on the responsibilities of those checks and balances of our system are on full display in The Post, another spectacular achievement in the career of the legendary Mr. Spielberg.