There are two reasons why I decided to see this movie tonight:
- I knew this film would be nominated for some sort of Oscars. And as I’ve stated before, I like to be aware of as many movies as I can so I can successfully call out The Oscars on how dumb they are.
- I hate Meryl Streep.
If that second part confuses you, I can explain. I am a stalwart defender of the idea of at least some objectivity in film criticism. Nearly every time I ever mention this, either a good friend of mine or some twitter follower tells me that I’m wrong, that all film criticism is subjective apparently.
So, I figured I’d put my money where my mouth was: I would go and watch a film starring an actress I can’t stand and try to judge her on an objective level.
(If you want to read more in-depth about my thoughts on critical objectivity, my hatred of Streep, and so much more, read my Year in Review for 2017).
So anyway, I saw The Post tonight, and it was really good. All of the performances are really good, and Stephen Spielberg’s direction and influence in the cinematography greatly benefits this story.
Meryl Streep in particular does a really good job. Her character, real life former Washington Post owner Kay Graham, is very fleshed out and you understand exactly why she feels so conflicted about all the events in this movie.
Tom Hanks also does a really good job… aside from the fact that whatever gravely voice he was attempting was somewhat inconsistent. The relationship between him and Streep is very well defined, and it was usually entertaining watching them go back and forth.
All the other performances were really good.
What really saves this film, however, is the cinematography. The film does seem to take a long time to set up its story, and I was really bored for the first fifteen minutes or so. However, even though the story does pick up eventually, what really solidifies its intrigue is how interestingly the film is shot. If the camera work wasn’t so superb, this film would have been significantly less interesting.
Aside from a few moments of goodness, the dialogue is relatively standard. There’s not quite enough writing talent in this film to really allow Streep, Hanks, or anyone else for that matter, to shine. Aside from some extremely cheesy moments (and we’ll get to those in a second), there isn’t anything too terribly bad about the dialogue, but it didn’t really do any favors either.
As for the bad stuff…
One of the worst parts of the film is just how preachy it gets. There are some scenes that desperately try to make very overt analogies to the Nixon administration and Trump’s. I had a feeling they would do this, but thankfully it doesn’t happen so much as to ruin the entire movie. But when it happens, it was hard for me not to roll my eyes.
Hollywood and The Press have always seen themselves as bastions of truth, and that opinion really shows in this film. In truth, Hollywood is the cesspool of America, and nearly every single news outlet is in a perpetual state of offense or defense depending on who’s running the White House.
But hey, it’s not like any of them have any self awareness about it… I mean heck, if they did, then I’d have little reason to hate Streep.
This, of course, is not a reason for me to objectively detract from this movie; I am simply stating something that is preventing The Post from being an amazing film.
When the cheese in the film wasn’t making light jabs at Trump, it was bashing you over the head about the fact that Kay Graham is indeed a woman.
No guys, you don’t understand. Not only is Kay Graham a journalistic hero, but she’s a female hero too. Guys, just to reiterate, Kay Graham is a woman, a stunning and brave woman. Yes, she is a hero AND a female… a heroine if you will.
When they first did this cheeseball move, I thought it was dumb, but acceptable. However, these condescending scenes happen at least four or five times in the film’s entirety.
I mean, the fact that Graham did what she did in a business environment that was very condescending and difficult to women is definitely noteworthy. But the film relayed this fact extremely well without all of these obvious, cheesy scenes.
The Post is still a very good film with very good performances.
Does Meryl Streep or Tom Hanks deserve Oscar noms for this? Eh, probably.
Do they deserve to win? Nope. Neither of them bring enough to the table to truly stand out.
Aside from the very overt and stupid scenes I mentioned, I thought this film was very enjoyable to watch. I don’t think this film would have made my Best of 2017 list, but I am glad that it was better than I thought it would be.