The cynic might well stoop to calling THE POST calculated, but to my mind it is simply seriously timely cultural product and a rousing rallying point. (It gets down to business on more than one front.) I hated Spielberg as a jaded punk kid, but oh how I esteem what he is doing now. This may look like Alan J. Pakula but it has the mythopoetic mien of John Ford. And ex-journo Sam Fuller would definitely applaud.
Top-tier Streep. Movie hinges on her ability to perform thinking and she nails it. This is corny-as-fuck propaganda, but not the worst I've seen, not by a long shot. Reciting Justice Black's wisdom re: the Grand Importance of Journalism was incredibly grating. Instead of Watergate, the postscript might've been "The Post's" editorial board penning their '03 endorsement of the Iraq War (entitled "Irrefutable"). Alas.
Light, likable. Spielberg casts Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, and Zach Woods-- three of the best comics out there-- in straight roles. What's the point of that? Do we watch thinking they'll sneak in a funny? Does it gently nudge us into feeling the love? Haven't figured it out yet.
Anyone can smugly point out the obviousness of the Spielberg touch, a fact that doesn't negate how effective I find this touch to be. The Post contains a number of great moments, most containing Streep, and a few clunky ones. Though it belabors the point, it's a point well earned by the seriousness of its characters and the uncertainty of their actions. It's not 'righteous', even cynical considering the times.
It's a credit to the craftsmanship of all involved that a film can be so engaging when there aren't really any surprises in it. It's light on the more complex ideas that sometime hide in Spielberg's seemingly simple historical films, and the on-the-nose nature of it blunts its impact. My biggest impression was of nostalgia for a (mythic?) time when readers would give a shit and not just retreat to their bubble.
7/10. THE POST is a likable film, one that details a battle between noble journalists and a megalomaniac president--a parallel to present day, of course. A touch sentimental at times and the final scene is perhaps unnecessary, but overall the film is entertaining.
The grandstanding self-aggrandisement of Hanks and Streep (always in time for Oscar season) tends to put my back up, but this is a competent film nonetheless. In an era where, thanks to Trump's authoritarian power grab, freedom of the press (even though MSM and The Washington Post is no left-leaning saviour) is in increasing jeopardy, films like this are important.