My graduation essay was an analysis of the Watergate's All President's Men by Alan J. Pakula and Frost-Nixon by Ron Howard. So it was clear that as soon as The Post by Stephen Spielberg was released, I had watch it.
But what a surprise: it's not about the Watergate! The movie is about the Pentagon Papers, which were crucial to establish a renewed sense of honesty for the press towards its readers. In the two years after the Papers, still under the Nixon administration, the Watergate scandal blown up the entire establishment, thanks to the courage of journalists and editors, who truly believed in being honest to the readers, no matter what.
Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are rockstars on the screen, duelling during the whole film in a polite and respectful way. If you can see the movie in english, you'll be surprised by the great use of voice. Meryl Streep is incredible: she lower her voice anytime she needs to get the attention, which is one of the thing you really need to practice when you speak in public.
Nevertheless Meryl and Tom are not having
the same relevance on the screen. Why?
Two different goals to pursue, not perfectly connected. Mrs Graham (Meryl Streep) is a widow with a strong need to be protected by the Board of the The Washington Post, since everybody has been saying that she's not able to run the glorious paper: she needs to discover her feminine path to empowerment. Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), on the other hand, is looking for an opportunity to show off that he is the editor-in-chief of a newspaper that can compete with the New York Times, going for the hard truth of the facts.
They are not pursuing the same goal - confirm your role or run for the truth - which leads to a dispersion of attention by the audience. You identify with one or the other, but not with both at the same time. Except for one scene: the night before the printing, at Mrs Graham house, during the party.
Life won't gift you anything, if you don't risk. Mrs Graham is wearing a long white tunic in a room full of all dressed up man. Meryl Streep is a step behind Tom Hanks, all the film. She's kept behind, she's not on the field of the research or of the investigative report. She needs her special advisor to clarify some of the decisions. She has no role in the game, except to give the final blessing, taking full responsibility of her choice. After more than an hour and a half, she's making a decision against the disappointment of the Board. Finally! The decision is huge and it effect both the leading characters, but it's the only one.
"And after that, I'm going to bed", made me laugh a lot, but wasn't enough.
Not the best character for Meryl, though. Streep has established herself picking some of the most dramatic characters ever: she was able to interpret them and to raise from the cast, but not this time. In The Post her character is blocked by the fear of decline. On the other side, Tom Hanks is dynamic, funny, irreverent: and he frequently steal the scene from her. I expect Meryl Streep to be powerful on the screen, but most of the time she's inert or passive, due to her character.
Steven is "Spielberging" the movie. It's an orchestra playing jazz, where sometimes you can focus on a solo piece, but then the whole band is back in the music script. Spielberg has a choral approach to filming: he's not into making too many takes, because they may distract from the focus of the film he has in mind. The camera is moving with the characters, following the focus here and there, finding a space above and below the general point of view to suggest a specific feeling in every scene.
It's a movie about a newsroom fighting for the right of free press.
Steven Spielberg wanted to do this movie,
due to the contemporary political situation
which delegitimize the role of the press
The press, as it used to be and as it should be again. You will be fascinated by the rumbling presses with bundles of newspaper tossed off the trucks in Washington Avenue to kiosk vendors on street corners. It's a way to think about how "making the news" was. Rushing to have the last news and not being scared about your decision to publish against the political class.
The Post it's a patriotic film about the press doing the hard job to bring transparency in legislation, but it's also adding a feminine figure before the whole Watergate Case visually and historically represented by the film All the President's Men, which is directly connected to the last scene, when we see a guard discovering the 1972 break-in at the Watergate building.
Researches say that we don't read as we did in the past or that we read only on unreliable source on the social media, but at least we should all see The Post to have our political conscience waken up!