The Post is a good movie. A really good movie. For a story that is nearly 50 years old it is extremely relevant on many levels. The script is good. The performances are strong. It’s definitely Oscar bait. But it’s easy to see why Oscar voters won’t take the bait.
The story looks at the internal struggle of the Washington Post to survive and ultimately publish top secret government documents that covered up details of the Vietnam war and cost tens of thousands of American lives. The government tried to stop their publication but lost at the Supreme Court. As a journalist, the story gives me chills and goosebumps. But as a cocktailing critic it leaves me thirsty.
Hollywood’s Holy Trinity
Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks play real life Washington Post owner Kay Graham & Executive Editor Ben Bradlee. The A-list heavyweights are directed by Steven Spielberg. This trio is a sure fire, can’t miss team. The Post hits the bullseye, but not the center of the bullseye, and when you’re talking Oscar that’s a big difference. The Washington Post is iconic and in the public consciousness, but not the people who run it (or ran it 50 years ago) are not.
When Streep won the Oscar for The Iron Lady, people knew who she was portraying and could appreciate the work that went into the performance. When Hanks told us life is like a box of chocolates, audiences became endeared to Mr. Gump. Here we have no baseline or heartfelt empathy for The Post’s characters. We appreciate the gravity of the situation and their decision. But award worthy? It’s a stretch. The Post got shut out at the Golden Globes, and now bettors agree: gold derby.com has The Post sixth in betting odds (behind Get Out!) at 9/1.
Still Worth Seeing
Just because something may be overhyped doesn’t mean it’s not worth some hype. The Post reminds us why journalism isn’t just important, it’s the bedrock of America. And it does it in an urgent but not sanctimonious way.
The film and Streep also remind us how far women have come and how far they have to go to be taken seriously. In the 70s it was still a man’s world, and The Post never misses an opportunity to remind us. In many scenes, Kay is the only woman in the room, and as the most powerful person in the room it is even lonelier at the top.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
The Post is a perfect movie to be reviewed here at the Critic’s Cocktail, because it reminds us why journalists are driven to drink! For The Post we’re mixing up a Manhattan — with Jim Beam & heavy on the bitters.