Steven Spielberg's historical drama The Post is drawing rave reactions from critics on social media, ahead of the start of its Oscar-qualifying limited theatrical run in December. The film boasts an all-star cast of character actors, led by frequent Spielberg collaborator Tom Hanks and three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep, and recounts the true story of how The Washington Post - under Katherine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major U.S. newspaper, and her editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) - sought to shine a light on the infamous Pentagon Papers, despite the efforts of then-President Richard Nixon's administration to keep the incriminating documents under wraps.
The Post, which was also referred to as The Papers at certain stages of its early development, is a project that came together very quickly by Hollywood standards. Spielberg, Hanks, and Streep didn't become officially involved with the film until this past March; shortly after that announcement, it was revealed that Spielberg was aiming to have The Post ready to reach theaters by the end of the year. Given the current political atmosphere, in which U.S. president Donald Trump attacks the media on a regular basis and accuses just about every outlet that reports anything negative about him of being "Fake News", it's easy to see why Spielberg wanted to strike while the iron was hot, with respect to The Post's social/political relevancy.
The timeliness of The Post, which was written by the relative newcomer Liz Hannah and Oscar-winner Josh Singer (Spotlight), is something that most journalists touch upon in their own social media reactions to the film, following its first screening for critics. For more on that, read the full reactions included below:
If you thought SPOTLIGHT was too visually muted, buckle up for THE POST, a newsroom drama that Spielberg shoots like Robert Zemeckis on a coke bender
— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) November 28, 2017
Great turns, riveting tick-tock, Spielbergian to the brim. THE POST is best of all a vital and timely reminder that a free press must remain free, and that the burden to protect that freedom belongs to everyone.
Also: You know Meryl's good but MVP = Bob Odenkirk
— jen yamato (@jenyamato) November 28, 2017
And yes it’s the best Streep in ages
— Alissa Wilkinson (@alissamarie) November 28, 2017
THE POST rules. the best Spielberg movie since MUNICH. more on this story as it develops.
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) November 28, 2017
#ThePost is excellent. Obvious but well worth saying - Streep and Hanks are fantastic. Takes some time to build but was *very* moved by Katharine Graham’s experience and how incredibly important it is to tell this story right now.
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) November 28, 2017
The Post benefits from a great, likable cast and a sadly timely reminder of the last time a president tried to villainize the press. However it’s super on the nose, incredibly slight and kind of a snooze overall. Felt to me like Spielberg was on autopilot.
— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) November 28, 2017
The Post is a reminder that Spielberg is a pro like no other. Pentagon Papers changed everything. It was a time not unlike today - similar forces at work. Everyone at the top of their game here.
— Sasha Stone (@AwardsDaily) November 28, 2017
Also: LINCOLN, BRIDGE OF SPIES and THE POST make one hell of a trilogy
— Chris Evangelista (@cevangelista413) November 28, 2017
These early reactions to The Post are largely positive and, save for the rare complaint, praise the movie for being one of Spielberg's best in years. The Post, as film critic Chris Evangelista in particular notes, also feels like a fitting thematic continuation of the filmmaker's ongoing exploration of modern political and/or social concerns through the lens of historical dramas, following on the heels of his Oscar-winning films Lincoln (a movie that examines how the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed) and Bridge of Spies (which focuses on a key prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Soviet Union, at the height of the Cold War). A number of critics are even arguing that The Post represents Spielberg's best work since his meditation on the Israeli-Palestianain conflict, with 2005's Munich.
Also worth noting is the praise heaped on The Post's portrayal of its female characters, including those played by Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story, American Crime Story), Carrie Coon (The Leftovers, Fargo), and Allison Brie (Mad Men, GLOW), in addition to Streep obviously. The project originated as a spec script by Hannah and marks the rare movie directed by Spielberg in which multiple women play a leading role in the proceedings, exceptions like The Color Purple aside. At a time in which the entertainment industry at large is taking steps to be more inclusive when it comes to gender both on and offscreen, it's nice to see the soon to be 71 year old Spielberg is striving to keep up with the times, in this respect.
That's all to say, The Post's awards season prospects are looking quite promising at the moment. The outlook could, of course, change once more critics have seen the film and weighed in with their official reviews, but for the time being it looks like Spielberg's film is going to be joining movies like Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water, Luca Guadagnino Call Me By Your Name, and Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird at the frontline of the race for Oscar glory this year.
Source: Various [see the above links]
- The Post (2017) release date: Dec 22, 2017