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An ideal time for a picture such as THE POST to be released is this day and time when the majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the Trump Presidency. No matter how much President Trump tries to make it right or criticize media, he is still made fun of every night on the talk shows, and especially on SNL by Alec Baldwin.
The timing is also relevant for two reasons. The film is Meryl Streep’s comeback at Trump after he made the remark of her being the most over-rated actress. he demonstrates her acting prowess at taking down the Nixon Presidency or any other Presidency for that matter. The second is the banding of critics and other publications to take down Disney when the studio decided to ban the L.A. Times in retaliation for a scathing article written against them.
Spielberg, director of 50 or so films as of date, goes for theatrics, clearly from the start of the film to the end. Meryl Streep is given the grand theatrical entrance in the bedroom scene where she coughs and papers get thrown on the floor. The camera concentrates on the performances on both Hanks and Streep, as if it were begging them to be noticed for Oscar nods. The actual crime, the incidents of the coverups of the four governments are only briefly mentioned, with hardly any details. The opening sequence of one failure attack in Vietnam is supposed to do the trick.
THE POST is the drama about the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post’s Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents.
The script goes on to push all the right buttons to give the audience a feel-good feeling of elation. “The Government has lied about the Vietnam War for 30 years. The way they lied has tone brought out into the open.” says Bradley. The government is then pursuing the security breach. The announcement of the result of the court as to whether the Washington Post would be acquitted is grandly staged. Even the words of the judge are quoted as coming from there American fore-fathers.
It is interesting to compare Spielberg’s other political entry on American Presidents – LINCOLN. In that film, President Abraham Lincoln was treated with respect and grandeur while in THE POST Nixon is considered nothing more than two-faced rat. Nixon invites no Washington Post press for his daughter’s wedding as a result apart incident and later bans the Post from the White House showing him not only guilty of being a sore-loser but one craving for revenge. His revenge is shown at the closing of the film as he Watergate scandal begins, as everyone knows. But the scene is still a satisfying one.
THE POST and the upcoming THE GREATEST SHOWMAN are 20th Century Fox’s Oscar hopefuls, both opening at Christmas. Both are crowd pleasers and it will be interesting to see what happens.