The Post is a polished retelling of a seminal event in publishing history. Steven Spielberg directs with his typically assured and visually magnetic style. This time his cast does the difficult work of making real-life characters pop with vibrancy and intelligence. That noun could be used to describe the entire film. The Post is a film aimed at adults who lived through the time depicted and serves as a chilling parallel to the struggle going on currently between the President and the press. Hanks and Streep do fine work in understated performances that feel more authentic because of their low-key nature.
Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), is bequeathed the Washington Post by her late husband, thus making her the first female publisher of a major American newspaper. Her close ties to popular and powerful figures in the White House presents a dilemma, when editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), Graham presents her with the story of the decade–an expose on the massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents. Both Graham and Bradlee put their ethics and freedom on the line to help uncover long-buried truths.
Spielberg has fashioned an adult drama that carries little appeal to those weaned on Superhero tent-poles or gross-out comedies. However, The Post lacks the urgency that was so palpable in Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies and Munich. John Williams delivers a haunting and thunderous score, and the photography by another longtime Spielberg collaborator, Janusz Kaminski, is Oscar-worthy. The Post ranks will Dunkirk as good but not great works from a pair of critically lauded filmmakers.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson