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The Post Movie Review

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How could we possibly get through the year without the legend himself, Steven Spielberg, directing an Oscar contender? Spielberg is one of my favorite directors of all time, and he’s one of the biggest reasons that I love movies today. Movies are pure magic, and Spielberg is the best to ever capture magic on film. He’s also teaming up with two actors who you could argue are the best currently in the business in Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. We know that Hanks and Spielberg work extremely well together, but this is the first team-up of Spielberg and Streep, so I had high expectations.

The Post is directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Bradley Whitford, and Alison Brie. After The New York Times publishes a story about a scandal involving decades-worth of US presidents, the press and the administration go to war ending with Nixon’s controversial decision that may have gone against the First Amendment. When documents detailing the events end up in the hands of The Washington Post’s editor, Ben Bradlee, played by Tom Hanks, he and publisher Kay Graham, played by Meryl Streep, must decide if they will publish the story which could result in jail time for every involved.

The most exceptional thing about this movie is just how relevant it is. The Post is set in the early ‘70s, but it clearly draws comparisons to today’s relationship between the press and the administration. It’s really interesting to see how that relationship has changed, but at the same time, it hasn’t changed at all. It’s also interesting to see the philosophies behind the people who worked at The Post. The driving force of this movie is their opinions on their job and how it relates to the public and the administration. Similarly to Spotlight, The Post never puts the characters on a pedestal. They want to publish the story because it gives truth to the American people, but it’s also something that could make or break the success of their paper. That brings us to the characters who are the reason that this story works. This story works because there are real people with real relationships and real stakes behind it. I felt the genuine dread behind either decision, and I always felt like the characters had something to lose or something to gain, and the tension was constantly boiling over. The characters are also beautifully realized through the cast. There’s not a single performance in this movie that doesn’t feel grounded and human, and I always felt the despair and weight of the decision. Though every performance is great, Meryl Streep steals the show. At the end of the day, she is the one with the most to lose, but the way she discusses and weighs the decision with Bradlee is extremely compelling. It’s also a story that gives you hope. If you’re at all familiar with the story, you probably know the outcome, but the nuances and the resilience of these people make it worth multiple watches, and Spielberg pieces those nuances together so well to make the story feel like one organized whole.

I do have a couple of issues with the movie. First, I think that the first act of the film doesn’t hit the issue as well as the second act does. For the most part I think that Spielberg did a great job handling all of the moving pieces, but I wouldn’t have complained about seeing more of the film’s central focus. It spends a lot of time in the set-up phase when I wish that it would have jumped into the main conflict a bit sooner. I also think that it wrapped up relatively quickly. Once the decision is made, the pace instantly shifts into the next gear when I would have loved to have seen more of the aftermath.

Overall, I found The Post to be an extremely interesting and compelling movie, and despite being set in the early ‘70s, it’s timely in how it addresses the relationship between the press and the administration. It’s an unhealthy relationship to say the least, but it’s definitely interesting, and the parallels are easy to see. It also gives high stakes to its characters which brings out the best in the performances, and Meryl Streep absolutely blows it out of the water. Spielberg does an excellent job making all of the layers and moving parts feel like one, and I was inspired walking out seeing that power can lie in the truth. I think that the movie gets stuck in the set-up phase, and I would have loved to have seen more from the aftermath of the decision, but I’ll settle for Spielberg pulling back the curtain on this event in a way that only he could. I’m going to give The Post an 8.4/10.

Will you be seeing The Post? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm