Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"The Post" Review by Tim Hellman

'THE POST': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

Steven Spielberg's new Oscar hopeful about the publishing of the Pentagon Papers, by journalists from The Washington Post and The New York Times, which exposed the United States government's covert (corrupt) activities during the Vietnam War. It stars (Oscar hopefuls) Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, and it costars Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, David Cross, Alison Brie and Matthew Rhys. Liz Hannah and Josh Singer (who previously co-wrote the Oscar winning journalism drama 'SPOTLIGHT') wrote the screenplay, while Spielberg's usual music collaborator, John Williams, did the score. It's gotten mostly positive reviews from critics, and it's also been nominated for a shitload of major awards (with the Academy Awards probably next). I really enjoyed it.

The story is set in the early 1970s, when secret government information, called the Pentagon Papers, was leaked to The New York Times. The info involved the government's knowledge that staying committed to war (in Vietnam) was a losing battle, and the info spanned four presidencies (including Nixon). The current administration threatened legal action against The New York Times, if they continued to publish the covert information, bringing their historical reporting to a halt. Then The Washington Post, ran by the country's first female publisher Kay Graham (Streep), got ahold of the papers, and they then had to struggle with the dangers of publishing it or not.

The movie deals with a part of history that I had very little knowledge about, so I of course found it to be really fascinating. It's also amazing how closely it resembles the issues of our times, so it's obvious why the film was a passion project for the director and others involved. It's also obvious why it's gotten so much prestigious awards attention. I think it's mostly well deserved. It's classic Spielberg, and Hanks and Streep are both great in it too (like always). It's also (of course) inspiring for anyone with a little rebellion in them (which I think I have a lot of in me). The film is one of the year's best in my opinion (like at least top 25, out of the 250 I've seen).

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