The Post is getting a lot of buzz for award season, so I figured I should probably check it out if I wanted to be well-educated. Did it live up to the hype?
In this historical true story, we watch as the Vietnam War rages on but the press has discovered top secret documents that shows that the government knew they couldn’t win this war but continued to send countless men and women to war. We follow Ben (Tom Hanks) as the executive editor at the Washington Post. The owner of the newspaper Kay (Meryl Streep) is conflicted on whether or not to publish these documents, which might cause her and her staff to go to prison. We also have other reporters at the Post, played by Bob Odenkirk and David Cross.
The movie is also directed by Steven Spielberg, which I think makes this the fifth or sixth movie that he’s teamed up with Tom Hanks.
The reason most people are talking about this movie are the performances, with everyone across the board delivering some of their best work. We’ll undoubtedly see nominations for both Streep and Hanks, though I’d also guess a supporting actor nomination for Bob Odenkirk.
As a true story, this movie is also fascinating. I wasn’t born yet during any of these events, so to see them unfold here was really interesting. It’s a slow burn though, typical of Spielberg films (most notably his other recent true story Bridge of Spies). If you have the time and patience, you’ll be rewarded here.
I also appreciated the dialogue here, almost resembling a Sorkin-style witty banter. The movie is really only focused on dialogue, so the fact that it succeeds is a good sign.
This movie doesn’t get everything right.
It has some major pacing issues, more apparent because the movie’s central action is all a debate over whether or not to publish an article, so the movie lacks a lot of punch. It’s a slow burn and not always very exciting.
There’s also the problem of an excess of characters, which is a rare problem. There are many moments that they reference a name, but we (as an audience) don’t know or remember who that is. A lot of moments of suspense are undercut by confusion. Too many characters that could’ve been trimmed, cut, or combined.
The Post is great but it’s not for everyone. It’s a slow journey with some great performances but it’s lacking action and relies entirely on dialogue. If you find that appealing, you’ll likely love The Post. And you’ll surely see Hanks’ and Streep’s names often in upcoming awards discussion.