Review: The Post

Take it to print.

When a disgruntled military analyst has finally had enough of the way the government is handling the Vietnam War, he leaks several documents to a few papers. The New York Times publishes them first, then feels the wrath of President Nixon. Then they fall into the hands of Washington Post reporter, Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk) He brings them to his boss, Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) who must convince his boss, Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) who just took her company public and still faces many obstacles being a woman owning a newspaper to publish them. 

I had to laugh at a comment I read about this film elsewhere. It went something like "Oh, Steven Spielberg made a great movie with great performances by Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.........and?" You know you make a lot of solid films when expectations are so high that even "great" is nothing to write home about.

For the record, The Post is a good movie. But even with so much talent, it doesn't live up to more recent journalism movies. The stakes don't feel nearly as high, even though they technically are. Revealing secrets about the Vietnam war is important. It's arguably on par with Spotlight revealing the horrors of the Catholic Church. It should feel more important than when Truth tried to report George W. Bush's draft dodging, but I never felt the clock here. I never felt invested in anyone other than Meryl's Kay. 

Meryl Streep gives probably her best performance in years here. We're so used to powerful, assertive Meryl that seeing her play the meek and sometimes insecure Kay felt so different. The only other two characters that get to show any personality here are the ones played by Hanks and Odenkirk, and they're fine too.

It sounds a bit like I'm hating on this movie, but I'm not. It's a good film. I just think it has the misfortune of following a near perfect film about a newspaper in Spotlight. (I know I'm in the minority with liking Truth. I feel like no one else cared for it.) Speilberg to his credit does elevate it. I think in the hands of another director this film could've been very boring. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "How likely?" - Roger Clark (Jesse Plemmons)

8 comments:

  1. I'm iffy about Spielberg's recent films though I can see why he would make a film like this as it reflect on the horror of what news has become now.

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    1. I haven't been crazy about a Spielberg film in a while either. This one is okay.

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  2. Agreed on the stakes thing. It just doesn't feel like there's much on state, there's no tension or anything. It just makes the film, just ok.

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    1. Right? I was listening to a podcast that pointed out that good journalism movies make the objective their racing against seem like a villain, and this one didn't do that whereas Spotlight and Truth both did.

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  3. It's so weird that all this talent and everything is met with a shrug, but that's where I am with this film. Like, I know it will be good, but I'm in no f--king rush to see it.

    And your review....basically supports that, right?? Hahaha....

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  4. It's weird, because I keep reading these lukewarm reviews of this and other than some clunky, overly obvious dialogue I really loved this. And I'm NOT the biggest Spielberg fan. I totally agree it's Meryl's best performance in ages, though. That big conference call scene is just ACES.

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    1. She's excellent for sure. I didn't hate it, I just kept thinking about how much more I liked Spotlight.

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