a THE POST musing
Tension in newspaper drama is always inherent. Usually, they’re about a newspaper’s reporters struggle to get a story, or getting information not so easily, or figuring out whether to post a story or not. THE POST involves the latter, with two screen titans in Meryl Streep playing the Washington Post’s owner, Kay Graham, and Tom Hanks portraying its editor, Ben Bradlee. With The New York Times posting the Pentagon Papers in 1971, The Washington Post, a then-local paper, decides whether to publish them or not, facing indictment from the U.S. courts. It’s a timely film, as the story has strong parallels to the current administration’s desire to censor the press. Steven Spielberg directs Streep for the first time, and rushed to get this movie made because of its timeliness. He always has and always will have a sharp handle on character and tension, but missteps towards the end when dealing with his message.
The story is at its best when dealing with the relationships of every character, and the cast, led by Streep and Hanks and rounded out by stellar TV MVPs, does incredible, subtle work throughout. Spielberg lets his actors do their thing, and if you’ve read any of my reviews before, you’ll know I’m a sucker for long takes, and oh boy does this movie have them. The first on-screen meeting of Streep and Hanks is a masterclass in character building and natural acting. When the action ramps up, the cuts accentuate the tension, especially in the phone call scene.
The structure of THE POST is similar to LINCOLN, with a strong ensemble to back it up. THE POST suffers from a rosy, on the nosy saccharine ending, though. I understand that it’s needed, especially in this day and age, but it lacks subtlety in a movie of subtle performances. The movie still chugs along, with powerful imagery of a woman in a man’s world, and is a strong reminder of the importance of truth.
RATING: BEST OF THE BEST
(Refer to my rating system HERE!)