Movie Review: The Post – Meryl Streep is Expected Thunder

[The Post, with a stellar star cast including Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks has been nominated in 2 categories at the 2018 Academy Awards: Best Picture, and Best Actress.]

To be honest, when this movie got an Oscar nod, I stared at the poster for a long time trying to figure it out. I had no idea what I was in for when I decided to watch and review Oscar-nominated films from the 8 biggest categories. Whatever notion I had in mind about this movie, it definitely wasn’t this!

In an age where freedom of press is being stamped down upon in a far off nation that rhymes with ‘Limerick-a’, this movie comes as a double-edged lesson. While it gives us a refresher course in the murky depths of American political history, it also tells us why honest press shouldn’t be curbed. It’s a lesson everyone can take home, irrespective of whether or not they are Americans.

The story is about The Washington Post and its eventual owner at the time, Katharine Graham, whose father established The Post. A woman owning a newspaper, having a job, for that matter, wasn’t widely accepted as natural even in 1971. But Graham stuck there for everything she believed in and came out on top.

‘Awesome’ is a very freely used word these days, even though not everything is actually, truly awesome. [Pun unintended.] But The Post has Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham and she is nothing less than awesome – in the truest sense of the word. She brings every nuance of the character to life brilliantly. She brings Katharine Graham and every one of her issues of balancing her personal, social, and professional life, to life on screen. Streep stutters, she laughs nervously, she cries, she worries – and every single emotion is utterly believable. That isn’t really anything new when one talks of Streep, but 21 Oscar nominations can’t be lying, right?

Tom Hanks. This man is mostly considered a serious actor, but The Post brings out another side of him that’s unbelievable in the best way possible. Hanks plays Ben Bradlee, the then executive editor of The Washington Post. During the 1971 melee, Bradlee pushed for the publication of the Pentagon Papers that revealed that the US government internally believed the Vietnam War to be of no consequence.

Before I watched the movie, I wondered what it was about the movie that got it the Oscar nods. But now, after having watched it, I wonder why it hasn’t got more.

The Post is an innocent retelling of history. [The difference is in the placement of the word innocent.] It tells us what happened back then. But it also is a reiteration for the present and the bleak future. After watching The Post, I want to read up on history, something that has only occurred to me rarely before.

There is humor in the unlikeliest of places, and vindication in the most expected places. But mostly, there is awe. Awe at the scale and the quality acting dripping out of the screen by not only Streep and Hanks, but from every cast member. The disgust that filled my heart at knowing what the then US government did gave way to triumph in the end. But what do I do with the disgust that fills me every time I read/watch news of contemporary American politics?

The Post is rightly nominated in the categories it is. There’s a reason why Meryl Streep is the finest actress of our time. And every time we spot her in the front row at the Oscars, there’s a hope that she will climb those stairs yet again and make a speech that will reverberate globally. Yet again.

Go watch The Post if you want a potent combination of class acting and history lessons! It’s an absolute must!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: Movies Wikia.

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