#REVIEW: “THE POST”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
Everyone has heard of Watergate – it was even the subject of a movie earlier in 2017. What fewer people remember is the scandal that immediately preceded it: the Pentagon Papers. In a story that reflects current journalistic events, newspapers had to make the decision whether or not they would publish information contained within the Papers that was pertinent to the public but damning to the government. The New York Times made the first move and the government countered with an injunction. This left the Washington Post – then considered a “local” paper – wondering if they should proceed to print and face the wrath of the Nixon Whitehouse or hold off and await the Supreme Court’s decision in the Times’ case. The Post chose bravery over safety.
Steven Spielberg’s last Drama The Post, is more than the story of The Big Story, it is also the story of Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) and how as a woman in business she was overlooked, talked through, ignored, and yet still required to make the big decisions. After inheriting the paper, she worked hard to keep on top of the business aspects of the paper and understood “investment into reporters” was good business and that “quality and profitability go hand in hand.” The Post’s Editor in Chief, Ben Bradley (Tom Hanks) was reluctant to trust her but proceeded with the business of putting out a paper hoping Graham would support his decisions.
Although the female characters rarely interact they are each distinct and the movie more than passes the Bedshel Test. The character of Kay grows into the role of icon to the women in the movie but it is Tony Bradley (Sarah Paulson) in particular breaks the curse of useless movie wives and proves to be more than a sounding board for her husband’s monologues. Her insights move the plot while her wig may be questionable, Paulson’s performance is impressive.
It should come as no surprise the performances in The Post are stellar. This perhaps explains why Streep and Hanks may find themselves overlooked come Oscar time – when you always bring your A-game excellence appears commonplace.
It is difficult to ignore the parallels between the Nixon administration and the current one in the United States and Screenwriters Liz Hannah and Josh Singer do their best to remind the audience of this at regular intervals. Comments about the Whitehouse attempting to dictate coverage and interfering with the press abound, making the Filmmaker’s position on the modern matter more than clear.
Although the Movie could have used far more people of colour, it stands as one of Spielberg’s best in recent memory. His normally testosterone fueled plots take a left turn with a story as much about the newspaper business as it is about the business of news. Riveting and well-paced, The Post is one of the best Dramas of the current Oscar season.
20th Century Fox Canada release THE POST on Friday, January 5, 2018.