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The Post: A true American story

Spielberg, Hanks and Streep team up to form cinematic masterpiece

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From E.T. to Indiana Jones to Jaws to Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg has been the father of so many American classics. The great and famed director’s most recent work, The Post, is certainly an incredible film, and worthy to be considered an American classic.

At first depicting Daniel Ellsberg, played by Matthew Rhys, and his experiences in Vietnam, the movie later swaps blood and military action for politics, controversy and a different sort of action. Describing a battle for the freedom of the press, Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) is embedded in a conflict in a male-dominated world where Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) fights for the press at any possible cost.

The plot itself, following the true story of The Washington Post’s fight against the Nixon administration for the printing of the Pentagon Papers is as dramatic as any fictional battle in outer space. Spielberg’s unique shots and the combined efforts of screenwriters Josh Singer and Elizabeth Hannah bring suspense, emotion and drama to life in a wondrous show of what America truly is. Yet this depiction of a fight couldn’t occur without the marvelous actors.

The movie used fantastic actors and big names, which doesn’t always work out. Yet in this film it did. Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Katharine Graham’s insecurity and her evolution as the owner of The Washington Post was incredibly convincing and moving. Matthew Rhys’s brief portrayal of Daniel Ellsberg properly demonstrated Ellsberg’s true inner conflict and shift toward an anti-war view. Yet perhaps the biggest name in the movie was somewhat of a disappointment.

In 1976, the famed account of the Watergate scandal hit the big screens as All the President’s Men. This great film had Jason Robards playing Ben Bradlee, the often intense and incredible editor of The Washington Post during the scandal. Tom Hanks, playing Bradlee, though a wonderful actor and fitting the role very well, failed to match the great historic portrayal of Bradlee. Robards had brought Bradlee’s intensity and passion to the big screen, which Hanks narrowly failed to do.

Perhaps it was a glorification of the American classic that leads me to say that, but Robards’s portrayal of Bradlee is nothing other than legendary, and Hanks’s Bradlee was amazing, just not legendary. Yet Hanks’s narrow miss of Bradlee doesn’t detract at all from the overall quality of the actors, including other huge names like Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk and Bradley Whitford.

Each actor, and their chemistry together, greatly boosted and created a sense of camaraderie and companionship among the characters that was easily understood by the audience. Their acting greatly supplemented the quality of the writing and directing.

The plot itself was wonderful, though it was true. Spielberg, Singer and Hannah each brought the true story to life through vivid storytelling and wonderful introduction of conflict, both within characters and outside of it. From the conflict between The Washington Post and The New York Times to internal conflicts brewing within Graham and Ellsberg to the conflict with President Nixon, the story is incredible, and is stitched together in a great story of American bravery.

If anything were to drive anyone to this movie, it would be Meryl Streep’s incredible acting. Katharine Graham’s inner conflict and issues with confidence in a male-dominated world came to life through her wonderful acting, dazzling audiences and critics alike. With lawyers, board members, shareholders, bankers and even the president and his administration all telling Graham to not publish the Pentagon Papers, she incredulously does, and this entire shift into self-confidence seen in Graham is perfectly shown by Streep’s acting.

If you enjoy good movies and if you love America, this movie is perfect for you. It shows the true meaning of America through the incredulous fight for freedom, nearly perfectly portrayed by various great actors.

 

Overall rating: A +

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