In May 1940, the fate of Western Europe hangs on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, or fight on knowing that it could mean a humiliating defeat for Britain and its empire.
Kristin Scott Thomas
During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
When American military analyst, Daniel Ellsberg, realizes to his disgust the depths of the US government's deceptions about the futility of the Vietnam War, he takes action by copying top-secret documents that would become the Pentagon Papers. Later, Washington Post owner, Kay Graham, is still adjusting to taking over her late husband's business when editor Ben Bradlee discovers the New York Times has scooped them with an explosive expose on those papers. Determined to compete, Post reporters find Ellsberg himself and a complete copy of those papers. However, the Post's plans to publish their findings are put in jeopardy with a Federal restraining order that could get them all indicted for Contempt. Now, Kay Graham must decide whether to back down for the safety of her paper or publish and fight for the Freedom of the Press. In doing so, Graham and her staff join a fight that would have America's democratic ideals in the balance.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
With two nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress, The Post (2017) holds the distinction of being director Steven Spielberg's lowest-tally for a Best Picture-directed nominee ever. See more »
At the beginning of the movie, when Ellsberg takes that first briefcase full of papers out for photocopying, the sign on the wall by the guards says "Rand Corporation". Ignoring how unlikely it is that such a sign would have been there at all, if it were it would certainly read "RAND Corporation". That's because "RAND" is an acronym/contraction for "R and D". For that reason it's ALWAYS expressed in uppercase. See more »
Even if the answer is yes, that's The Post, in a nutshell. It hits all the right beats. Serious historical drama (it covers a newspaper contemplating printing government lies about the Vietnam War), mega-famous director (Spielberg), and beloved, award-winning stars (Streep and Hanks). To top it all off, this movie is timely. A movie about newspaper courage at a time when our nation's free press is under attack, it's almost too perfect.
Delicately arrange all these ingredients nicely on a fancy dish, and we should have a five-star meal. But we do not. Instead, the result is something that is just fine. It's a lower-middle class version of Spotlight.
That likely reads harsher than I intend it. Spotlight is incredible. Mentioning any movie in the same breath is an honor. The Post is a perfectly adequate, important movie, not a Best Picture winner. There's no shame in that.
There's very little blatantly wrong with the movie. Grading via a high school-style rubric would result in an A for following all the instructions and including all the required criteria. Yet, it does not quite reach the level of "WOW."
Figuring out why it doesn't "WOW" is tricky. Maybe shooting and editing a movie that quickly (reportedly completed in only a few months) is too tall a task even for a master like Spielberg.
Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep play the leading roles and do so fantastically. Streep is especially strong in capturing the hesitancy of a woman in charge who doesn't act like she's in charge. This is the other element that's important for 2018. Women can lead effectively and bravely. She slowly learns that she is fully capable of seizing control and making the tough decisions, just like any successful leader.
The supporting actors all likewise play their roles well, without exception. Everyone feels a bit underutilized, which I suppose they understood when they accepted the parts. The inclusion of so many famous faces could be viewed as a statement emphasizing the importance of the film.
While I mentioned that there is very little blatantly wrong with the movie, I did personally find certain parts troublesome. Specifically, I call attention to the beginning and ending. Without spoiling anything, they felt oddly out of place, or at the very least, they felt unnecessary.
Perhaps Spielberg included them to make clearer the message of the movie. He wanted to establish the stakes. I didn't think we needed that. Movie viewers are smart enough to understand what makes this movie important. Thankfully, the movie avoided becoming overly preachy, aside from a couple sigh-worthy instances.
If you're down for a textbook "important history lesson" movie, The Post is for you. Just don't expect to leave the theater in stunned silence, like you did after seeing Spotlight.
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