When thinking about movies, it’s hard not to think about Steven Spielberg. The American director has produced an infinite amount of classics. Spielberg has been hard at work recently, he’s filmed two films back to back, 2018’s Ready Player One, and he most recently rushed the production of The Post.
The Post is about the dilemma that the “Washington Post” had in 1971 on whether to publish the famous “Pentagon Papers” or not. These papers essentially pointed out that previous presidents as far back as Eisenhower in the 50s were convinced that a war in Vietnam would be a disaster, and yet they went ahead and invaded anyways. There are essentially two threads in this story that conflict with each other, we are led by Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep) the owner of the “Washington Post”, who struggles to have her voice heard in the male-dominated world she now lives in. The other thread follows Ben Bradley (Tom Hanks) the famed “Post” editor at the time as he manages his reporters.
Spielberg decided to rush this film into production after the Trump election, and one can clearly see the details sprinkled throughout; from the sexism and suppression suffered by Katherine, to the censorship of the press by the Nixon administration. Spielberg handles most of these situations with an astute perspective, making sure to point out both sides of what the argument could be (but not stooping low to the current morals of press freedom the White House claims). The film’s purpose is essentially to have pride over a free press, and it’s achieved with grandeur.
The framing of two parallel storylines that weave in and out balances this film out very well. We have the political intrigue from the reporters’ investigation, but we also have the character development of Katherine to humanize the entire story. The Post is essentially the story of Katherine as she learns to seize her voice and push loud men aside.
Spielberg is also able to bring together two of the best actors working today: Streep and Hanks, who surprisingly have never worked together before. This star pairing works its wonders and keeps the story taut and the characters alive. But Spielberg also sprinkles in actors at the top of their game in small roles such as Carrie Coon, Michale Stuhlbarg, and Bob Odenkirk, who all take advantage of the little screen-time they have and liven up the small side-scenes.
Spielberg essentially brings us an incredibly satisfactory film; the whole film feels like you’re watching one of the classic political or investigative films of the 70s or 80s. In so The Post feels like a warning or message from the past to our current times, of abusing and taking the press for granted.