In 2017 I made a New Year's resolution to see one movie in the theater every month. I made it to 11 movies (one short) and I was feeling pretty proud of myself, until I realized that in the last eight weeks I have seen six movies! Awards season has truly lit a fire under my butt and I've made it to Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, I, Tonya, Molly's Game, Pitch Perfect 3 and The Post.
I wanted to see The Post from the very first time I saw the trailer. Not only does it star two Hollywood legends, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, but it couldn't be more relevant to the issues we're dealing with right now in 2018.
The film tells the story of the brave publisher and editor of The Washington Post who made the bold decision in 1971 to publish a confidential government report about the Vietnam War.
Meryl Streep plays Katharine Graham, the publisher of The Washington Post.
The paper has been in Katharine's family for generations, previously run my her father and husband. After her husband passed away, she took the helm. As publisher, she faces constant resistance from an all-male board, a reality that is sadly still true today for many women leaders.
My favorite Katharine scene is where she drops in on her friend and trusted advisor, Robert McNamara, to let him know she will be publishing the Pentagon Papers, knowing it will damage his career. She simultaneously demonstrates a sincere kindness and an intense resolve.
There is also a poignant scene between Katharine and her daughter, played by Glow star Alison Brie. Katharine finds herself gasping for breath as she describes the immense weight on her shoulders to lead the paper in a way that would make her father and husband proud. I needed a few tissues to make it through that one!
Streep finds an incredible sparring partner in Tom Hanks, who plays the paper's editor Ben Bradlee.
I watched an episode of The Ellen Show last week where Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks were promoting the film and they shared that this is the first movie they have ever done together. Can you believe that? They've been orbiting around each other all these years and never collaborated until now.
As Ben Bradlee, Hanks is a fierce defender of the free press. He constantly reminds his team that their number one duty is to keep the American people informed. I found it chilling that this was an issue in 1971 and today, in 2018, we're still dealing with a president who wants to shut down unbiased, accurate reporting.
In addition to Hanks and Streep, the movie also features Bradley Whitford, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Matthew Rhys and Jesse Plemons (Landry from Friday Night Lights!).
The movie is directed by Steven Spielberg (no big deal). When I left the theater, I fell down an internet rabbit hole researching when the decision was made to make this film. It just feels so on the nose in this present moment.
In an interview with The Guardian, Spielberg says, "The level of urgency to make the movie was because of the current climate of this administration, bombarding the press and labeling the truth as fake if it suited them. I deeply resented the hashtag ‘alternative facts’, because I’m a believer in only one truth, which is the objective truth."
Spielberg read the original script in February 2017, shot the movie in May and was screening it for critics by Thanksgiving.
The Post shines a brutal light on the way history repeats itself. I highly recommend seeing it, though be warned, you'll definitely leave feeling cynical.