Movie Review: The Post is Perfect for our Times

Movie Review: The Post is Perfect for our Times
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. He is a graduate of Journalism from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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Legendary director Steven Spielberg’s new feature The Post is something of a miracle that it exists as it does. Not only was it made quickly and to be engaging as it is, it’s among the best-timed movie releases of the century.

The story chronicles The Washington Post’s conflict and efforts to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971; secret documents that proved American presidents had been lying about the Vietnam War for nearly 30 years. It might sound dull or too intricate for some audiences, though the script does an excellent job explaining the politics simply.

But what’s truly miraculous is the vital timeliness of this true story. The film explores the danger of exposing conspiracies in American government and the critical value of sharing the truth with the public. That free press is a cornerstone of true democracy.

With the current ominous climate and extreme social division in the United States, this movie is more necessary right now. It’s arguably more vital than any other time since these actual events under Richard Nixon actually happened. Similar to 2016’s Zootopia and last year’s Get Out, the right release date can give movies like this a heightened impact with audiences.

It helps that the movie is stuffed with all the elements of great blockbuster dramas. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks give two smashing lead performances as Kay Graham and Ben Bradlee, the real-life warriors of Washington Post. Hanks, especially, delivers one of his best monologues ever in a scene halfway through at Kay’s birthday.

Photo: 20th Century Fox

The way this dynamite cast whizzes through the perils of research and publishing the story is harrowing from start to finish. The colours, snaps, and editing feel an awful lot like 1976’s All The President’s Men, considered by many as the best journalism movie of all time. (And coincidentally, the historical sequel to these events, teased at the end.)

Like the newspaper itself and the real world of journalism, The Post is equally exciting and terrifying simultaneously. It’s fast and gritty with Spielberg’s trademark polish. Like many of his other period dramas and war epics, it has the tone and editing of a Spielberg blockbuster.

Maybe it’s even more impressive that he made the movie from start to finish in just over a year. Spielberg finished The Post while working on his upcoming sci-fi epic Ready Player One. (The latter comes out in March, though both films were made side by side.)

He could have waited and done the projects separately, but he worked with the same vigor as the Washington Post did in 1971. When they saw there was a critical story the public needed to here, the priority became telling it to the public. There was collusion, ignorance, and corruption by America’s highest office. And unless something was done immediately, it was going to be too late.

Some stories are more important than we can understand when they are first released. The Post is exactly that – a reminder of what Washington once did when they discovered they’d been cheated. It’s a warning of what happens if America lets history repeat itself under an equally dangerous administration today.

It won’t be for everyone’s taste – this is a movie about adult politics. But I applaud Spielberg for his instincts, intelligence, and bravery for his careful and insightful filmmaking. Now more than ever.

The Post
3 1/2 out of 4 stars

PG, 1hr 56mins. History Drama Thriller.
Directed by Steven Spielberg.
Starring Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk and Sarah Paulson.
Now Playing at Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.

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