Mark Twain famously noted that “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” It seems that those who conceived The Post believe fervently that that rhyme is a close couplet. While there are many similarities between the White House’s battles with the press in the mid-20th Century and now; these are different people in different times with different objectives. Sometimes close isn’t close enough.
In what is essentially a prequel to a superior film, Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks fail to live up to the billing of them teaming-up ascribes. Though, in fairness to them, their careers are so storied that it would be impossible to live up to the hype. They are all fine here. Of the three, Streep is probably the best, but this best is far from her best. Hanks is miscast as Ben Bradlee and can’t match Jason Robard’s superlative portrayal.
Spielberg is as solid as ever, but there were so many “Spiely” moments that it was hard not to cringe. It was also a darkly shot film which seemed more odd, than purposeful tone-setting.
What The Post most has going for it as an “important film” is the ability to put together a deep, deep bench of incredible supporting actors. In lieu of using more space on politics, it may be more important to shed light on the deepness of that depth—maybe the deepest ever in terms of current wattage and things to do. In alphabetical order: Brie; Coon; Cross; Greenwood; Letts; Odenkirk; Paulson; Plemons; Rhys; Stuhlbarg; Whitford; Woods.
The Post is a decent film and worth seeing, but its self-importance and dumbed-down audience-pandering keeps it from becoming above average.