With The Post, Director Steven Spielberg whisks audiences back to the 1970s with a story that is sadly as relevant today as it was then. However, with the pages of history already written, is the story still compelling as a film?
The Post centers on The Washington Post and its fight to publish the “Pentagon Papers”—leaked documents that showed the U.S. Government knew the War in Vietnam was a lost cause. The story focuses on two people: Editor-in-Chief Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and the owner of the paper, Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep). Bradlee is all for publishing the files after The New York Times is barred by court order to publish any more of them and he encourages his staff to ferret out the documents so the paper can get them out to the public. Graham, who was thrust into her position after her husband’s suicide, is more reluctant to publish due to the fact that her family-owned paper is about to go public on the stock exchange. What results is a compelling story that has plenty of humor as it deals with issues that are relevant to today such as freedom of the press, speaking truth to power, and gender inequality.
In addition to Hanks and Streep, who are both fantastic—especially since Hanks is battling against the ghost of Jason Robards, who played Bradlee in All the President’s Men—The Post boasts an equally impressive supporting cast. Bob Odenkirk shines here as do Carrie Coon, Tracy Letts, Sarah Paulson, and Bradley Whitford. Be on the lookout for Odenkirk’s longtime comedy partner David Cross too. Just an amazing ensemble that is an embarrassment of riches. They are backed up by a strong script by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer as well as a strong score from composing legend, John Williams. My only negative for the film is that it didn’t hit me as emotionally as I wanted it to. I’m a sucker for newspaper/journalism films, but this one didn’t have the same impact as something like, say, 2015’s Spotlight. It’s a small quibble, but it was the one thing that kept the film from being great as opposed to really, really good.
Despite my one complaint, The Post is a must-see. Spielberg is an absolute master and he has crafted a fine piece of filmmaking here. Everyone should see this film considering what’s going on in this country, what with a president that accuses credible journalism sources as being “fake news,” because they dare to contradict his own false narrative. See it.