To be honest, I did not realize (or had a momentary lapse and forgot) who was the director of The Post was until I saw the closing credits. But there was a part me that was not wholly surprised. More on that a bit later …
Based on the legal and journalistic drama behind the release of the Pentagon Papers, The Post threads a very thin narrative line – it is part political thriller (the DNA of All the President’s Men is quite evident) and part human interest/personal drama, centered on The Washington Post’s owner Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep). It also explores the evolving relationship between her and editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks).
Now, I am not going to give too much of the story away, because frankly a quick internet search will tell the tale of the Pentagon Papers. While I am not a spring chicken, I am surprised that I did not recall this story from my history classes during my school days. I could offer more commentary in that regard, but I digress. Back to the film.
Ah yes, the performances. Not much to say in this regard except what else do you expect? Streep, Hanks and a wonderful collection of supporting actors who made this a true ensemble piece.
Now, that does not make this a perfect film by any stretch. There were definitely a few Spielbergian flourishes that could either inspire awe or come off as a bit cheesy. For me, there was one scene in particular when I transitioned from the former to the latter. It was quite an experience: one moment I am on the verge of tears thinking “Yes,” only for a second later, to be sat there rolling my eyes into the back of my head.
Part of me also felt like this film was an opening act of sorts, leading to a main event (Watergate). Apparently, the filmmakers felt the same way because the epilogue was a wink and nod in that direction.
So overall, yeah, it is about what you would expect from an awards-season film with powerhouse talent behind it. Do you need to see it in the theater? Probably not. But it is a film of interest for the performances and the history which it tells – a history which resonates especially during these most interesting times we are living in.