This writer had the opportunity to consume the new Steven Spielberg epic “The Post”.
The movie is one of his finest moments as a director, and oh by the way, he made the film in 43 days!
I will not be providing spoilers, only my general take on a glorious work of art.
Against an unprecedented political backdrop in American history, in which we have a tyrant in the White House, “The Post” is one of the most well timed films of the modern era, providing sensational social commentary on the institutions of feminism, and the free press.
It’s also one of the best films of the year, and a surefire threat to shut down the Academy Awards a month from now.
The “Post” takes moviegoers beind the scenes of one of the biggest stories American politics has ever seen, and what role the free press played in the ensuing fallout.
The “Pentagon Papers” served as an inflection point for America, the national anger towards the failed Vietnam campaign crested when a rogue security official leaked thousands of pages of classified documents that would eventually touch off a showdown between the Nixon’s government, and the media.
The film does a magical job of capturing the atmosphere of the era, down to the shoes people are wearing, this is as authentic a period peice as you will ever see.
Often during the film, I was reminded of the 1976 classic “All The Kings Men”, and was stunned to see that this film was shot in similar fashion.
Capturing the hustle and bustle of a newsroom is easy, but depicting the pressure a major print newspaper feels over the course of a history altering story is difficult, and the “Post” manages to transport viewers to the ground floor of the Washington Post, demonstrating how hard the paper had to fight to achieve national relevance.
The film also gives Richard Nixon his just due.
Nixon was operating a corrupt administration during the time the movie takes place, he was using the full weight of his office to strike terror in anyone that would oppose him.
Nixon was so insecure, that he attempted to shut down the New York Times with an injuction when they initially broke the story, and threatened to do the same thing to the Post when they came into possession of the entire study.
The fight got so ugly, that it ended up in the Supreme Court, and would become a watershed moment not only in the fight against Nixon, but for the future of adversarial journalism in America.
As a reporter that crusades for truth and justice on a daily basis, this film felt like a battle cry, a symbol of hope during a time of complete darkness.
Tom Hanks(who was sensational) character is everything I want to be as an editor, couragous, principled, and stubborn.
While somewhat arrogant, he is the type of news editor any major publication would want in house, and his dedication to his craft(and his shop) laid the groundwork for reporters like me.
There is something else.
The Post is a two pronged attack, providing amazing insight into the genesis of the second feminst movement that took off during the 70’s.
The social revolution in this country is often only attributed to African Americans, but many forget that women made a serious stand for their rights during that same time period, and one of the champions of the cause was Katherine Graham.
Depicted masterfully by Meryl Streep, the character is the protagonist of the movie, and a hero to generations of women and men.
Graham is a powerful woman surrounded by(sexist) men that continually question her judgement, her sensibilities, and her authority as the head publisher of the Washington Post.
The film takes place during a transitional period for the paper, the Post went public within days of the Pentagon Papers story breaking, so the pressure Graham was under is almost immeasurable, and represented to a tee by Spielberg.
The film spotlights how dramatic gender equality was in the 70’s, and Graham’s journey tackles it head on.
Like women excusing themselves from the table when men start to talk politics, or ONE WOMAN working in the upper echelon of a national newspaper, “The Post” passive aggressivly shoves the sexism of the period in the viewers face.
This is another well timed dynamic of the film, Streep’s performance should be an inspiration to women(and men too) everywhere, she is everything that modern feminist dream about, she moves and shakes with grace, humility, and love.
A tremendous performance by Meryl Streep.
My favorite shot of the film is at the very end, I won’t spoil all the details, but the scene makes a point of demonstrating how important Graham was to the women of the era, I almost got teary eyed watching it.
I am sure you will too.
The Post is magnificent, it’s required viewing for anyone that invests in films to be inspired.
Tastie Fish Rating: 5 Fight out of 5