Biography Drama

'The Post' Film Review: A long-overdue collaboration between a trio of Hollywood icons that's well worth the wait

January 5, 2018Justin Waldman

Every Oscar season there are those movies that scream Oscar bait. Then there are movies that can scream it as loud as they want but no one will notice, simply because of how brilliant the collaboration is. And in the case of The Post, it is the latter that holds true.

Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep — what more could a film lover or a filmgoer possibly ask for than three people who are at the top of their game time and time again? Yes, The Post is one of those rare movies that will have people talking for ages, not only about the subject matter — which happens to be something rather timely — but also about the performances and how unsurprisingly amazing the movie is.

The story revolves around the Washington Post's 1971 battle to publish the secret government documents known as the Pentagon Papers, which spanned four separate presidencies and revealed what was arguably national secrets, leading then-president Richard Nixon to deem it a breach of national security and setting off the fight for the freedom of speech and the freedom to print. It is this overarching question that guides the movie, which largely focuses on whether Post owner Kay Graham (Streep) and her editor, Ben Bradlee (Hanks), should go forward with their fight against the government.

That said, The Post is not just another government conspiracy movie, despite the battle for free speech at its core. The Post is also a movie about standing up for what you believe is right, and pushing through and working against the odds. It is also about defying those people who believe you are less than you are, as Kay Graham was the female owner of a newspaper in a time when no one believed she could keep her family company afloat, let alone print the story of a lifetime.

What makes The Post such an incredible film, however, are the performances. Hanks is no slouch of an actor, and he does an incredible job in the film, but it is Streep who gives one of the best performances of her career. That is no hyperbole; she is absolutely brilliant as Kay Graham. Streep practically embodies the character, like she does in every one of her roles, but there is something about Kay that just shines through. Even though the movie would not be the same without the strong supporting cast consisting of Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford and Matthew Rhys, Streep is truly reason enough to see this film.

Moving on to direction, Spielberg is a genius and arguably one of the best working directors to date. He manages to take something as well-known a part of American history as the Pentagon Papers and make it so entertaining and enticing to watch. This is a very hard task, taking something that has been as historically well-documented and making it so invigorating and exciting, but he does it flawlessly. The great actors and actresses he has assembled surely help, but without clear and well thought-out direction it means nothing.

Together, Spielberg, Hanks, Streep and company deliver one of the most satisfying movies of their respective careers, and one that is likely to be nominated for several Academy Awards. Their partnership is truly superb and does not shy away from taking risks. They push themselves harder then they have ever before, and if Spielberg really did make The Post in under a year — as it is rumored he did — then that in itself is truly a story worth printing.

The Post releases January 5th, 2018 from 20th Century Fox. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for language and brief war violence. Its runtime is 1 hr. 55 min.

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