The Post (2017)

the post poster 2017 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Spiritual prequel to All the President's Men, topical nature allows multi-generational connection

Wish they gave it a vintage look

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:   The Post

Studio:   DreamWorks Pictures

Genre(s):   Drama

Release Date(s):  December 14, 2017 (Premiere)/December 22, 2017 (US)

MPAA Rating:   PG-13

the post kay graham ben bradlee tom hanks meryl streep tracy letts

Ready to make history?

It is 1971, and The Washington Post is in trouble.  The small paper is getting by but having financial problems, and its owner Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) never expected to be in a leadership role.  Her editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) likes to take risks and wants to finally nail down a big story.  When The New York Times gets a big break of classified documents indicating that the United States continued to fund and push the war in Vietnam despite deciding it was a losing cause, Nixon and the Presidency try to shut down the Times.  When Ben and his men get the same information, they face a choice:  expose the truth or play it safe.  The deadline to print is coming, and Ben and Kay must make a decision…fast!

Directed by Steven Spielberg, The Post is a historical drama about the publication of The Pentagon Papers.  Premiering at the Newseum, the film was released to critical acclaim and nominations.

The Post is a very topical film despite being set in the early 1970s.  The United States was at a dangerous tipping point, newspapers were struggling, and there was an attack on news…which all seems very familiar in 2017.  The movie does pander a bit to this theme of “history now”, but it does it in a way that still feels that it is just telling events as they occurred in 1971.

the post kay graham meryl streep

I will find my voice!

The story (barring some Vietnam setting in 1965 at the begging) is largely set over the course of a week.  This is important to remember in that there are some major decisions being made and they are being made fast.  The first question is a simple one:  Is this news?  The answer is yes.  The second question “Should we print this?” is a tougher one.  It is echoed later in the movie where Streep and Hanks realize that reporters aren’t perfect, but the larger good of having them outweighs the negative in the system of checks and balances…something being questioned again in society today.  This in turn is amplified in the final scene of the movie leading into Watergate (which did also end up clearing Daniel Ellsberg of charges against him).

The cast is solid.  Meryl Streep is always a winner and she can even play someone unsure despite always appearing so confident herself.  I’m often down on Tom Hanks who seems bland to me in most roles, but he does work here because of the type of character he is portraying.  Hanks and Streep are back-up by a very impressive supporting cast.  You have Bob Odenkirk as Ben Bagdikian whose connections get The Pentagon Papers and Matthew Rhys (taking classified information again) as Daniel Ellsberg.  Alison Brie, Bradley Whitford, Tracy Letts, Bruce Greenwood, Jesse Plemons, David Cross, Zach Woods, and Sarah Paulson help round out the cast.

the post ben bradlee tom hanks

Well…I wonder if I should get used to confined spaces…

The movie also looks good, but here, it resembles Spielberg a lot.  The film might be a spiritual prequel to All the President’s Men, but it doesn’t look very much like it.  I wish that the film had opted to “age” the movie and give it a grittier look (naturally, and not in post-effect), but they opted for a clean, modern looking picture…yeah, a lot more people are smoking and there are vintage cars and technology, but it didn’t look old.

The Post does face some challenges.  It is rather typical Spielberg and not flashy.  There are lofty speeches and moments, but for the most part, the solid story carries the film.  The second challenge it faces is that the audience of who lived through this period of history is starting to age.  Most of the major players in the film are gone and younger audiences might struggle to understand what was going on if they didn’t live through it (or at least were born close to it).  This is where the topical nature of the film works and helps elevate The Post.  See The Post and then pop in All the President’s Men for a full evening to get the full story of The Washington Post of the ’70s…and question whether it could happen again.

Related Links:

All the President’s Men (1976)

The Most Dangerous Man in America:  Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2009)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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