Verdict: Hanks and Streep shine, but The Post offers much more.
In an era of cheque journalism, it is satisfying to see movies that restore your faith in the press. Directed by Steven Spielberg, The Post is the political thriller set in the early 1970s. It depicts the period when journalists from The Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers, which exposed the involvement of the US government in the Vietnam War. It is a fight between the government and the freedom of speech, and history has proven that the latter has always won.
What’s The Post About:
Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) is the publisher of The Washington Post and the first female to hold such a position. Naturally, she faces criticism by the board members, who feel that she is incompetent of her title, passed down in her family. Meanwhile, at the newspaper, editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) seems to be locked in a battle with the government, when his team gets its hands on the Pentagon Papers. The papers expose a government cover-up, detailing the history of the country’s political and military involvement in Vietnam. While they were first brought to the public’s attention by their competitors, The New York Times, the Supreme Court banned the newspaper from publishing more. But Bradlee is not one to back down and the final decision to push for publication is up to Graham – at the cost of her newspaper and her own life.
The Post has already received several nominations for Best Picture and is likely to bag an Oscar nomination too. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks are also in the running to win Best Actress and Best Actor
The credit for putting together a movie that beautifully shows what goes behind the making of a daily newspaper goes to Steven Spielberg. In the film, we are run through the entire process – from getting a lead, to writing the article, to putting it on ink, to its final printing and distribution. Journalists will find it very fascinating to see how the process was done in the age of typewriters. The story, though a tad slow at first, comes to life in the second half, where the events take place during the course of a few hours before publication. It is fast-paced, but extremely engrossing at this point, depicting the challenges of going against the most powerful government. This is when the performances are top-notch, the cinematography is at its best, and you find yourself rooting for the lead characters against all odds.
What Could Have Been Better:
The first half of the movie seems dull, given its typical corporate setup. It is only in the second half that the pace picks up and has the audience glued to the screen. Moviegoers who tend to walk out of movies based on their initial judgment will have to hold on to their seats a little while longer for stuff to get interesting.
Why You Should Watch:
It has Meryl Streep. It has Tom Hanks. The movie could win an Academy Award. If these aren’t reasons enough, watch it for its satisfying ending where freedom of speech trumps politics in a country known for its secrets. You will certainly enjoy it.