For every journalist that was ever inspired by the movie All The Presidents Men, about the Watergate scandal and how the Washington Post broke the story, there is another movie that will equally inspire journalists And that movie is The Post starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep about the Washington Post and how it reported the Pentagon Papers. Before the Watergate scandal became international news and put and put the Washington Post at the Forefront of important newspapers, there was another story that truly made it a national paper and it was the reporting of the Pentagon papers. Tom Hanks plays Ben Bradley, the longtime editor of the post and Meryl Streep plays Katherine Graham, the first woman to run a Fortune 500 company and owner of the Washington Post. As someone with a journalism background, I was already intrigued by this film because every journalist knows how the Washington Post broke the Watergate scandal and before that, the Pentagon Papers… these stories are basically a “how to manual” for good journalism. But how do you tell the story while making it entertaining and inspirational. Well, you get Steven Spielberg to direct. I will go ahead and say that I love this film and I do pretty much put it right up there with All the President’s Men, which I think is an incredible film. But that isn’t to say that this film is absolutely perfect. There are still some issues with it.
But we’ll start with what works in the film. The performances of Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are fantastic and I don’t think there’s any doubt that they were going to be good in this film. I even think Tom Hanks portrayed Ben Bradley just a little bit better than Jason Robards which is saying something. Also, with Tom Hanks did not make the mistake of having too much of Boston accent which can be really annoying. Kevin Costner in 13 days being the prime example. But I do have one minor complaint about Tom Hanks has Ben Bradley. There were times in the film that it looked as if he was playing Charlie Wilson again. That isn’t to say one shouldn’t see the movie, I’m just pointing out that it’s not perfect. But the performances of Hanks and Streep convey the intensity of the story and the decisions that they had to make regarding printing classified information, especially when the Washington Post was going public and it could have upset the public offering and doomed the newspaper. They were literally risking their own survival as a newspaper at the time. It’s hard to imagine that now, but the reality is 45 years ago, we might not have had a Washington Post and the risk of printing the Pentagon papers could all for nothing.
The movie itself has the same great pace as any classic thriller and even though we know what really happened, you still get a sense of excitement from not knowing what the outcome is going to be. A shout-out has to go to Bob Odenkirk, who played his part as if Saul Goodman truly was a hero. He was funny and inspiring almost stole the show. The only thing that I can’t really complain about the film is there were some moments that it dragged a little bit. I think the purpose of these moments were to show the intensity with the characters in the decisions they had to make, especially with Katherine Graham discussing her options in the middle of a dinner party. It might seem like minor nitpicking, but like most movies sometimes they are too long and I don’t think the movie would have suffered it all if you had taken about 15 minutes out of it. But other than that, there really isn’t any need to complain about with this movement. Steven Spielberg tells a great and exciting story even though this film is a political statement, it doesn’t matter because the inspiration for good journalism is still there. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep give Oscar-worthy performances.
There’s a lot of humor in the movie that blends well with the inspiration this story is supposed to have for journalists or the American public that yearns for factual reporting of the news. I feel the same way about this feeling the way that I did was Spotlight a couple years ago. It’s a much-needed film and today’s political climate and it’s a fantastic story made with great performances by former Oscar winners. And let’s face it you couldn’t have had any better director than Steven Spielberg. This is a movie that I definitely think is worth the price of a movie ticket and you will watch more than once, especially if you want to do your double feature The Post and All the President’s Men. As we start a new year of movies I highly recommend The Post… you will not be disappointed.