If you need one reason to watch The Post then consider this – this is the first film that Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep have made together. If you need another reason then it’s directed by Steven Spielberg. If you need a third reason; it’s excellent.
The Post is the story the Washington Post’s struggle to publish the Pentagon Papers – a leaked report stating that the White House had lied to the American public for years about the Vietnam War. The Post and the New York Times had to fight all the way to the Supreme Court to publish what was one of the biggest governmental cover-ups in history.
So of course this film is every bit as slick and stylish as you would imagine with three such big hitters involved. Spielberg has cleverly captured the current zeitgeist in a film set 40 years ago. The themes are all about free press and not allowing government to run roughshod over a nation – sound familiar?. Oh and there’s the thing about women too.
I’ll admit I didn’t know anything about Katharine Graham before I saw this film, but now I want to know everything. Daughter, wife, mother, widow and chairwoman of the board. She was the owner and publisher of the Washington Post and the difficult decisions about whether or not the paper was breaking the law came down to her and editor Ben Bradlee, played by Tom Hanks.
The film is her journey from struggling to find her way in an almost entirely man’s world, to finding her voice over all of theirs. Of course Meryl was nominated for an Oscar for this, it’s the kind of thing she does really well and I loved seeing her on-screen metamorphosis. I’m not surprised that Tom Hanks wasn’t nominated. It’s not that he didn’t give a good performance, I just felt that there wasn’t much substance to the character.
I have to admit I love films like these. I love seeing offices full of typewriters and rotary telephones, with absolutely everyone smoking everywhere. I love the hairstyles and the clothes and how long it takes to do anything because they don’t have computers.
The Post isn’t the sexiest story around. There aren’t any explosions or unrequited love stories. But I think it’s an important film to see in terms of US history and the history of women. Even if you’re not a history buff, it’s certainly a compelling film to watch.