Honesty is the best policy, but when it comes to politics, a different code seems to apply. The Post is an example of this. In 1971 when President Nixon was in office, The Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers, top-secret intelligence about the Vietnam War, hidden from the public through four U.S. administrations. Katharine Graham, played by Meryl Streep (Iron Lady), the country’s first female newspaper publisher, made this happen, along with her courageous staff, played by a long list of actors you’re sure to recognize. It's another must-see Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) film, written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer (Spotlight), who will have you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
First time writer, Liz Hannah, came up with the idea for this film AND wrote it. Did I mention she’s 33 and now her first screenplay is a Spielberg film? It’s safe to say she’s going to have a killer career. Without the delicacy of Hannah and Singer's writing, the film could’ve felt overwhelming, having spread itself too thin, with too much information. Luckily, it was anything but. The background provided, which covers 12+ years, was both necessary and helpful to understand the magnitude of the real reason for the film, the papers. Hannah and Singer drop the bomb and launch into the who, what, where, when, how and why at full speed ahead. You’ll walk out feeling like an expert. Surprise – you’ll also learn about the newspaper industry and how it functions, bricks, press, print, the whole shebang!
Spielberg, well he’s Spielberg. Dull lighting, with subtle spotlights on the highlighted characters during interior scenes let the audience know who the big man on campus was in the room. In a film where there were oftentimes many characters in one scene, this was certainly helpful to direct our focus. During these scenes, there was heavy dialogue, but they served as a break in the drama where Spielberg gives you time to listen and digest the information thrown at you. In between each of those interior shots, the camera would follow the characters walking briskly or running to get to the next big thing in the story. As the film went on, the stakes naturally got higher. Music composer, John Williams (Star Wars), makes that tension possible. The score is fast and exciting, making your adrenaline levels soar through the roof. Spielberg’s direction, editing, and score make for an exciting and beyond entertaining film with incredible acting by his entire cast.
There’s a whole lot of star power packed into The Post, hello Streep and Tom Hanks (Castaway) alone, wowza. Streep is a badass boss lady, the kind of character we need more of in Hollywood right now. Her character development was shown through the transformation of her clothing. Take notice of her business-like attire, suits, etc at the start, but by the end her outfits are more ladylike, showing she’s a confident woman who's the boss in a room full of men. Hanks, who plays Ben Bradlee, the executive editor, is one of those men who shows her the respect she deserves. He has gumption and authority when around his team, but when in a room with Streep, he noticeably tones that down to show them whose boss, Katharine Graham. Fun fact for all you history buffs: Bradlee and his wife were best friends with John and Jackie Kennedy, but that's a story for another time. Check out The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee on HBO; it's fascinating! In such a dramatic film (in the positive sense), the actors overcame the urge to over act. Bare with me, the list is long, but they all deserve a shout out: Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Tracy Letts (Lady Bird), Bradley Whitford (West Wing), Bruce Greenwood (Double Jeopardy), Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Alison Brie (Glow), Carrie Coon (Gone Girl), Jesse Plemons (Friday Night Lights) and David Cross (Arrested Development). I wasn’t kidding...
Bottom line: The Post is interesting, action packed and well worth your time. Juicy, juicy gossip you’ll want to know – after all it was kept from us for far too long! Be sure to catch it before the Oscars, I smell a Best Picture nomination.