The Post



22 December 2017| No Comments on The Post     by Sean Chavel



This 1971 historical drama shines a light on today. Steven Spielberg’s The Post gains a suspenseful amount of traction by the time it gets halfway through. Richard Nixon, former disgraced President, tried to shut up the New York Times by having his lawyers put an injunction on the paper when it came to publishing classified documentation on the Vietnam War, i.e., Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said it was an unwinnable war. Spielberg’s film has Tom Hanks as editor of the Washington Post periodical Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep as its publisher go into dispute as to whether they should publish additional stories with the repercussion that they could face legal consequences. The Washington Post is the second news journal to get its hands on four thousand pages of Top Secret documents, but they debate on what they should do with them. Dozens of stories are possible, and to spell out the truth on a cretin president is one of them.

Streep is undoubtedly important here as a female publisher who is hard to be taken seriously amongst male circles, and the film says something about sexism and ageism of its time. She’s terrific, for sure. To me, I surprisingly find this more to be Hanks film though as the combustible, go for the throat newshound Ben Bradlee. Spielberg’s most enthralling piece of directing happens when Bradlee is delegating his news team out of his own home to come up with cohesive news-telling threads.

Some other notable performances include Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Matthew Rhys, Jesse Piemons, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Brie (who is just nice to have) and Bruce Greenwood as an uncanny embodiment of Robert McNamara. The point is, Spielberg populates his film with distinctive personalities. The press notes state that Nixon’s actual voice recordings are his, heard while an actor in silhouette portrays him.

I’ve never understood the praise behind “All the President’s Men,” a would-be classic that is the equivalent of watching paint dry as it bleats out its earnest messages. “The Post” is one of the best newspaper movies to date, on par with “His Girl Friday” or “Zodiac” (not on par with “Citizen Kane” obviously). “The Post” offers a significant quandary for a historical drama as it asks: Even in 1971, did high-profile journalism companies and its upper staff quarrel over how much quality should be injected into their output, and how much sellout needs to exist in order to turn a buck?

Made quickly in order for Spielberg to feel timely, “The Post” is engrossing and pertinent.


115 Minutes. Rated PG-13.


Film Cousins: “All the President’s Men” (1976); “Born on the 4th of July” (1989); “The Fog of War” (2003); “Zodiac” (2007).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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