“…from the majority opinion: ‘In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.”
The Post is director Steven Spielberg’s newest film that tells the story of the Pentagon Papers by the Washington Post that documented 3 decades worth of White House involvement in the Vietnam War and the concealment of crucial behind the scenes information. The Washington Post must then decide whether or not to post these documents after Richard Nixon declares that he will sue any newspapers that reveal this information. This film marks an important time in modern history, not only because of the story it tells, but rather the sad realism of present day government and White House animosity. Spielberg fast tracked this movie after reading the script. The screenplay, written Josh Singer and by first time screenwriter Liz Hannah, resonated with Spielberg especially looking at our current political climate. With the quick production of this movie, it shows on screen that the film was forced to release when it did.
I will say that when watching the movie, I felt like so many of these great characters were underutilized throughout the film. For example, Michael Stuhlbarg, who has had an amazing year, didn’t have the opportunity to really show his caliber of acting on screen. He was in and out for a few moments, but never wowed me. Tom Hanks delivered a solid performance with that of newspaper editor Ben Bradlee. Hanks’ moments are crucial to the overall storyline, but don’t become intriguing until the later part of the film when he takes control. However, it is Meryl Streep’s character that is extremely disappointing as a result. When you walk into a “Meryl Streep” movie, you expect to be blown away. This is by far one of my least favorite performances from Streep. Her role throughout the film felt basic. There was nothing much to experience through her portrayal of Kay Graham, the first woman to ever own a paper. There were times when Streep had an impressive conversation or a strong scene, but those were few and far between. This film ended up being too much of a Hanks vehicle with Streep in the passenger seat. So much more could have been done to make these character worth wild.
I haven’t been impressed with Spielberg’s choice of projects within the last few years, and The Post is no different. This film is constantly implementing the same types of gimmicks in order to get emotional feeling from the audiences. There is one part in particular that really lays it on thick with the heart-tugging emotion. It was a “hit you in the head” moment of making sure the audience left knowing the true message of the film. It went from being emotional to “extremely cheesy.” Thus ruining the impact of moment.
The Post is not a bad movie, but it isn’t great. And when you go into a Spielberg/ Hanks/ Streep type of movie, you demand it to be great, because those three have shown time and time again that they can do that. The Post is not up to par as to the caliber of work that these three have done in the past, or even as innovative and powerful as these three have been. This film could have been so much more, but in the end, became so very little.
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Bob Odenkirk, and Michael Stuhlbarg