‘News is the first rough draft of history…’
Spielberg. Hanks. Streep. That trio could film a blank screen for six hours with the gentle sound of a weeping child in the background and still be nominated for an Oscar. The Post was always going to receive Academy recognition, especially when considering its super duper important and serious subject matter. Does it deserve it though? I’m not so sure…
When the New York Times uncovers an explosive story about the Vietnam War, the Washington Post must decide whether to follow suit. Solving that moral quandary are the Washington Post owner Kay Graham (Streep) and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks).
Despite my sassy intro, it must be noted that The Post is a good film, if not quite deserving of all its acclaim. Streep and Hanks are a wonderful double act, both exuding a natural warmth and humanity that always makes them individually compelling. Together they are dynamite. It is also heartening to be reminded that journalism is not just a cesspool of clickbait and scandal but something that can be honourable and courageous in the right circumstances. The flip side to that argument is that in Spotlight Hollywood has recently produced a film with similar subject matter that is not only far better but also far more important. The Post takes itself too seriously, at worst recalling the more po-faced moments that blighted Aaron Sorkin’s HBO show The Newsroom.
The Post succeeds in taking a complicated story with many threads and turning it into an accessible Hollywood movie. A combination of star power, an astonishingly talented supporting cast (Alison Brie, Bob Odenkirk and Jessie Plemons are all brilliant) and a master director, ensure that while The Post isn’t a classic, it is certainly worth watching.
History will dictate that this film will be a mere footnote in the careers of Spielberg, Hanks and Streep but it is the fact that the three of them are together that elevates The Post beyond the average.
If you consider yourself more than just a casual lover of cinema then you should probably see The Post, just don’t expect a masterpiece.