To claim that this movie isn’t clear Oscar bait is a disservice to viewers everywhere. Streep, Hanks, and Spielberg, joining forces for the first time? Be still my gold statued heart. But it’s not completely a power play. The Post is poignantly timed. A history lesson for those who are trying their damnedest to forget it.
The Post references The Washington Post; a newspaper you surely know and have read. But back in the 70’s, it was a smaller paper with national dreams. Helmed by that archetypal newsman Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), The Post has just been out scooped by The New York Times. It seems that a disillusioned former employee of the government has his hands on some papers, papers that show that not only did four successive presidential administrations know the Vietnam war was going badly, they purposefully lied to the American people about it.
When he does get those papers, Bradlee will publish. As long as he can get approval from the well-meaning but in over her head boss, Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep). Doing so would mean moral clarity, but could bring down the paper and send those involved to jail for knowingly spreading government secrets.
The acting, of course, is great. Hanks and Streep are amazing actors. Special shout out to Bob Odenkirk for being amazing. Special shout down to Alison Brie who is in this movie for the sole reason for Meryl Streep to act at.
There are some minor flaws in the film. A bit of grandstanding in the end has zero sense of pacing. The clear feminist message that was really expertly weaved into Streep’s story line turns into a giant visual mallet desperate to beat you over the head. Nothing breaking, just jarring.
The real gift of this movie is the timing. How important are films like these? Where the press is lifted up and the first amendment wins out? It clearly wasn’t so long ago that these rights were coming into question. Our current administration is on a crusade to discredit the press, the bastion of free speech. They are doing it in ways that were unthinkable back then: with the approval of a lot of ordinary citizens and with the help of shrill mouthpieces.
Those in power need a check. And when politicians won’t do it, the press will.
3.5 out of 4 stars.