Spielberg can make a great film from filming paint dry, and The Post is very deliberately made in this day and age of political anxiety.
A widow is placed in charge of The Washington Post newspaper firm after her husband passed away, taking on the responsibility of a legacy just when strongly guarded Government secrets are uncovered about the Vietnam War…
After having seen The Post, its messages and subtexts are incredibly obvious, in fact it is hard to imagine any audiences not realizing why this film was made. We have a moment in history, when women were still never hired into positions of power, when a woman is given full control of a prominent company. Not only that, she and the media company she runs, opposes the President of the United States. Yes, this film is a clear message directed at the current Trump Administration and the slew of problems and endless strife American society currently has in regards to press coverage and the President’s controversial reasoning…
Without making this review too political, the film has several spiked moments that act like missiles directed at the Administration. Set in the 1970s, we have Meryl Streep’s idealistic, very intelligent but cautious newspaper editor say with a fond smile “You can’t say no to the President”, before the film’s plot begins. More than that, we have Tom Hanks giving riling speeches about how the world needs the media to challenge authority and governors and not be silenced. The motivations of this film are very clear.
On the side of Streep’s character, Katherine Graham, she is frequently depicted surrounded and crowded by men of the industry. Spielberg goes the extra mile to single her out, effectively so.
If this sounds negative, it shouldn’t be taken as such; the film is utterly compelling. While it did start sluggishly (an uninspired Vietnam war sequence followed by the Stock Exchange…) once the audience appreciates were the battle lines are between characters, and who works for who and where, the film escalates well. Performances are all of Spielberg standard; convincing and layered, especially Streep. It was also nice to see Robert Odenkirk (from Breaking Bad and Netflix’s Better Call Saul) in such a prestigious production.
Spielberg is an incredible director, making such seemingly dry topics feel fresh and involving to a wide audience, simply by knowing how to get performances from actors and involving the audience with subtle camera work. As well as knowing when to add moments of levity without them feeling too shoehorned in.
The Post is a well made and well performed movie, released at the right time with the precision of a guided missile to remind us of serious issues plaguing our world today. I don’t care for politically motivated movies, but I do appreciate a well made film.
Additional Marshmallows: There’s likely something to be had watching this before watching Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon. Just saying.