Why The Post is an Odd Movie

Is it because of the acting?
No. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep deliver rather low-key performances but that isn't a bad thing; in fact, it is rather impressive. They allow the characters to swallow them up. Both actors can scene-chew with the best of them, but the script doesn't call for that; it calls for them to act ensemble, and they do--because Hanks and Streep can do just about anything.

Is it the approach?
No. I rather like the Spielberg/Eastwood approach to history: take a single person and use that person to distill a representative historical event or time period. I think this approach makes history and certain time periods far more comprehensible and "real." After all, historical moments are made up of people and people's interactions: that's the place to start.

With Spielberg's Lincoln, this works since Lincoln & the Slave Issue is kind of the point of Lincoln.

So, what's the problem?
Katharine Graham/The Washington Post & The Pentagon Papers is maybe the point of Graham/The Washington Post, but Watergate is much more the point of Graham/The Washington Post.

Maybe Spielberg was afraid of going up against All the President's Men.

The movie rather reminded me of Eastwood's J. Edgar which is about Hoover & the Lindbergh Case, which is weird because it should have been about Hoover & Communism.

The New York Times & The Pentagon Papers is a much closer link (which link was well-handled in the movie). However, McNamara & The Pentagon Papers would have been a far closer link.
The amazing Bruce Greenwood as McNamara

Is McNamara the most interesting person in the movie?


Could Spielberg have distilled McNamara down to 120 minutes?

Well, Fog of War didn't try, letting the documentary speak for itself, so I'm not sure.

Is The Post worth watching?

Yes. The story unwinds slowly (which I rather like); since Spielberg is the master of pacing, it pulls the audience in. The ensemble cast is excellent. The history carries the movie in a non-history-dump way. I learned more about Katharine Graham and The Pentagon Papers plus the movie made me want to watch All the President's Men. And, as another reviewer pointed out, it was cool to see people typing on typewriters and typesetting the newspaper copy sans a computer. Yes, kids, people used to do that!

Still . . . the sense of oddity remains . . .

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