STEVEN SPIELBERG DEPICTS THE WAR BETWEEN JOURNALISM AND GOVERNMENT IN A FILM THAT’S STILL RELEVANT TODAY!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: *** out of 4
20TH CENTURY FOX AND DREAMWORKS PICTURES
Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in Steven Spielberg’s The Post
Director, Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln) returns with his latest film, The Post. A political drama which depicts The Washington Postand New York Times journalists who published the Pentagon Papers regarding the United States government’s covert involvement in the Vietnam War.
This film marks the first-time beloved actors, Tom Hanks (Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, Bridge of Spies) and Meryl Streep (Sophie’s Choice, The Iron Lady, Florence Foster Jenkins) have worked together in a film. Amazing, these two cinema darlings have never worked on a movie together until now.
Given that Spielberg was passionate about the source material but wasn’t originally planning to direct this, he nailed The Post to the wall and its themes are just as relevant today as they were back then. Do I consider it one of his best films? No, but it’s a solid political drama that’s worth talking about especially during awards season.
After a cover-up that spanned three decades and four U.S. presidents forces the country’s first female news publisher, Kay Graham (Streep) of The Washington Post and its editor, Ben Bradlee (Hanks) to join forces, they participate in an unprecedented battle between journalism and American government in publishing the Pentagon Papers. Kay and Ben race to catch up with The New York Times and expose a massive cover-up of government secrets and fight for the First Amendment.
The film also stars Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story, Mud, 12 Years a Slave) as Tony Bradlee, Bob Odenkirk (Saturday Night Live, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) as Ben Bagdikian, Tracy Letts (U.S. Marshals, Killer Joe, Lady Bird) as Fritz Beebe, Bradley Whitford (Adventures in Babysitting, Saving Mr. Banks, Get Out) as Arthur Parsons, Bruce Greenwood (First Blood, Double Jeopardy,Capote) as Robert McNamara, Matthew Rhys (Titus, Brothers & Sisters, The Americans) as Daniel Ellsberg, Allison Brie (Scream 4, The Lego Movie, The Disaster Artist) as Lally Graham, Carrie Coon (Gone Girl, The Leftovers, Fargo) as Meg Greenfield, Jesse Plemons (The Master, Black Mass, Bridge of Spies) as Roger Clark, David Cross (Arrested Development, Kung Fu Panda trilogy, Pitch Perfect 2) as Howard Simons, Zach Woods (The Office, Silicon Valley, Ghostbusters (2016)) as Anthony Essaye, Pat Healy (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Freaks of Nature) as Phil Geyelin, Phillip Casnoff (Law & Order, Frasier, NCIS) as Chalmers Roberts, Jessie Mueller (The Family, Blue Bloods) as Judith Martin, Stark Sands (Lost at Home, Inside Llewyn Davis, Minority Report) as Don Graham, and Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man, Call Me by Your Name, The Shape of Water) as Abe Rosenthal.
Overall, The Post is a fascinating political drama that depicts the long-time battle between the press and the American government and another solid addition to Spielberg’s directing credit despite being on short notice. Even though he wasn’t originally planning on directing it and his next film, Ready Player One was in post-production, the rushed decision to direct this film was definitely for the best because it speaks just as loud today as it did back then.
The film doesn’t really do anything new with its subject matter or execution but it’s certainly a movie worth talking about. The movie’s themes of the U.S. government trying to control the media and state what is allowed to print and what’s not can be connected to the Trump Administration and how it wants to control the media and hide secrets from them (That’s as political as I’ll go with this review).
The performances of Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep hold this movie together and they have strong chemistry every time they’re on-screen. I don’t think they’re Oscar winner worthy here but you’re always invested in what the two of them are doing, hopefully this will lead to more starring collaborations in the future.
If you’re a Spielberg, Hanks, and/or Streep fan and believe in the First Amendment then The Post is a must. Even if I consider the film to be a little overhyped and not quite as mind-blowing as films like The Disaster Artist, Lady Bird, or The Shape of Water, I still feel like it’s a movie that should be watched and discussed for generations, just like All the President’s Men.
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