The Post: Movie Review

Updated on February 2, 2018
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

The Post
The Post | Source

Just two years after Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight put the, um, spotlight on the power and obligation of the free press in the United States (and won the Best Picture Oscar in the process), the topic is once again making waves at the movies with The Post, a re-telling of the 1971 events surrounding the leak and subsequent publishing of the Pentagon Papers.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, The Post is a superbly acted and exquisitely constructed film (assuming we forget that The New York Times had a much larger and more important role...but more on that later). It's a testament to not only the importance of the news media in society but to the fearless convictions of people like then-Washington Post publisher Kay Graham and Editor-in-Chief Ben Bradlee. Though they’re now more known for their role in uncovering the Watergate scandal a year later, both Graham and Bradlee had already cemented their legacy with the Pentagon Papers, and The Post brings their story to life.

The film begins in 1966 Vietnam with embedded State Department analyst Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) investigating the efficacy of the war in order to file a comprehensive report. After reporting to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood) that he feels the war is unwinnable and that the US hadn’t made any progress to that point, Ellsberg becomes disillusioned when McNamara holds a press conference touting the exact opposite. Years later the frustrated Ellsberg leaks portions of the report to The New York Times, who publish the famous first excerpts.

Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and Graham (Meryl Streep), meanwhile, are shepherding The Washington Post through turbulent times, both globally and within the walls of the paper itself. Graham is facing constant scrutiny (and worse) for being a woman in the paper’s most powerful position, and Bradlee is trying to make the Post relevant, dragging it up from its standing as a regional newspaper.

And that’s all before the Times publishes the Pentagon Papers.

To be fair and honest, The Post isn’t the history of Ellsberg and the leak, and it doesn’t pretend to be. The Times’ role is downplayed almost to the point of non-existence when, in actuality, it was their story; they did, after all, win a Pulitzer for publishing and reporting on the Ellsberg documents. Instead The Post takes those few impactful moments and uses them as the basis for a pseudo-Graham/Bradlee biopic with a message that couldn’t be more timely.

The backbone might be The Washington Post’s scramble to get the Papers for themselves (and then wrestle with the decision to publish them, in the face of a court order barring it), but this is a movie about the people involved. And when you have Streep and Hanks taking the lead alongside a stellar supporting cast, which includes Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Bradley Whitford, and Tracy Letts, you can’t help but get something magical.

Spielberg actually directed the film in a rush, both to have it released as soon as possible in today’s political climate and because he was knee-deep in hefty post-production for his next film, March’s Ready Player One, but there’s no evidence that he skimped or didn’t give it his all. Though it lacks the gravitas of Spotlight and the clinical precision of All the President’s Men, The Post is still an excellent movie across the board.

The Times, though, might be an even better movie...should someone choose to make it someday.

Rating

4.5/5 stars

'The Post' trailer

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)