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The Post Movie Review (2017) | Serving the Governed Not the Governors

Walks in with yet another engaging spectacle, Steven Spielberg is hands down a master at filmmaking. The extremely gifted man once again proves with The Post Movie that he is peerless at what he does. His work never ceases to paint flairs of extraordinaire. He is the one man who could make a simple conversation stand out. And there is so much inscribed in his frames that you can’t help but wonder how does he manage to pull it all off.

There’s a story he tells even in long winding conversations.  The Post Movie is full of such brilliant masterly koreros. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep with their Oscar-bait presence, make all those chats stand out. There’s something about his direction that’s instantly uplifting. Even when he is not busy painting fiction like last years The BFG, he is pouring meaning into the mundane, shaping it and moulding into something delectable.

In a world of power that’s run by the corrupt, perches a voice that’s broiling to do the right thing. The Post movie bases itself on that very run, the pointlessness of a war that had edged itself precariously on the parapet of “let down”. The fact “we can’t show the world we lost” smothers the superpower dream and the United States government was finding it difficult to come clean. It was The New York Times who took the first plunge but the victor – The Washington Post who saw it all the way through.

The Post Movie Plot and Theme (Spoilers)

The Post narrates the true story of the Pentagon Papers that shook the very foundation of the US government when they were made public in 1971. It is built around all that took place inside the head of all the decision makers and the turmoil they were in when something as huge as the truth itself came along.

The Post movie kicks off in the year 1966 with a prologue showing Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) accompanying US troops and documenting US military activities led by Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood). When speaking to President Lyndon Johnson he expresses how hopeless the Vietnam war was, and yet publicly speaking McNamara says the exact opposite.

The post movie still tom hanks

There was something about that blunt lie that shakes the very foundation on which Daniel was built. Unable to take it anymore he decides to let all the government secrets out in the open for the public to see. He photocopies classified reports that showcase the progress of Americans on Vietnam soil ever since the time of Harry S. Truman and then leaks it to The New York Times. Later he releases it to The Washington Post where a pissed off Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) was scouring for news.

Quality drives profitability.

It should be well noted the import of the papers. It is worth noticing how the director chose to run the camera literally with the Pentagon papers thus establishing the colossal importance of news. A world was about to go down for some really powerful people. You could literally feel the weight of the papers in that parcel that made its way to Ben’s desk.

Meryl Streep as Kay Graham

Katherine Graham or Kay (Meryl Streep) found a world on her shoulders when she took the reins of The Washington Post in her hands as the publisher and owner after her husband died. She was overpowered by some really strong men, and it was hard for her to cope with those who condescended her at all times. Be it be her advisors or the men who surrounded her.

In the beginning, there was this apparent tension as clouds of doubts hovered over her. It was important to show that owing to the huge decision boiling in the eventuality of the flick. Meryl nails it giving an Oscar-worthy performance yet again.

Meryl Streep in The Post movie

There are some really ingenious shots put in by Steven Spielberg when he chose to show a woman entering a room full of men. It spoke of contradiction. Even though words weren’t spoken, eyes spake ’em. There was an evident air of control that you could sense in that frame when Katherine takes her seat unable to speak herself out due to stress and hesitation.

News is the first rough draft of history.

You could sense her to be this vulnerable woman who was forced out of her way and flung into a room full of responsibilities. What people did not know was the undeniable fact that every person is totally capable of handling things once they get a hang of it.

There was also one scene where all the wives of men at great posts stood outside smoking, waiting and discussing trivial matters while this contrasting lady Kay Graham goes right through them all to meet with the ‘men’ to take a call. It is just truly inspiring for all those who thought there was a said place for women. She literally changed the very perspective people had about women.

Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee

Editor in Chief of The Washington Post is Ben Bradlee portrayed by Tom Hanks. He is rooting for a big news when the biggest of all news hits him in the face. A lot of shots are called by him in the flick but at the end of the day, the decision still stood with Kay.

Tom Hanks, the brilliant actor he is, adds in plenty of heft in the pacing story through his acting. He is still one of the best actors, hands down. Taking a seat like a boss, turning down people who aren’t useful, you could literally feel him turn into the Editor in Chief of The Washington Post.

But it is Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk) who is contacted by Daniel Ellsberg who flies to him to see the papers in person. It blows him away when he witnesses a room full of documents.

I always wanted to be part of a small rebellion.

The Challenge

The biggest challenge all the popular newspapers in United States faced was the government itself. When The New York Times had leaked the first received document, the government restricted the papers from publishing further by calling it an act of treason. Now more of those papers fell into the hands of The Washington Post, and it was a suicide mission for them if they still went ahead to publish.

So it all boiled down to the decision, the ultimate decision whether to post or not to. That decision was to be made by none other than Katherine herself. What made matters worse for her was the fact that she was good friends with Robert McNamara. Put in a position that demanded her to be truthful to the country, to be loyal to her friendship, despite being under the crosshair that could have destroyed the paper she had inherited, Katherine had the world spinning. She had to make a call.

The conversation between Ben and his wife Tony Bradlee (Sarah Paulson) about Kay being brave is something to watch out for.

To make this decision, to risk her fortune and the company that’s been her entire life, well I think that’s brave.

Then we had people constantly battling with her, advising her not to publish since it could decimate the company to tatters. People who looked down upon her, for not only being a woman, but for being incapable of taking a decision on her own.

He says we can’t, I say we can. There, you’re caught up.

Despite everything and a mind-numbing thrashing, she finally makes the right call by choosing to print.

My decision stands, and I’m going to bed.

She had just bugled the arrival of truth, and nothing could have put it better than the following dialogue:

The movie ends with a proper epilogue adding fuel to fire by winking at the Watergate scandal which ultimately led to the resignation of Nixon.

You can order The Post from here:

The Final Verdict

The Post movie needs to be celebrated not just for the fact of how convincingly it has been made and produced, but for its ability to be able to break something unbreakable. Even something as gargantuan as a government could be wrong. It is after all made with people. If they are corrupt, that’s what the governance would end up becoming.

The Post movie is a revolt that brims us up with hope that truth beats everything. You just have to take a stand and never back down even though how intimidating the enemy is.

The papers weigh a country’s conscience. If they are rigged or stomped down, nothing will ever be right again. It’s a movie that sets history right.

How to Be Single Review (2016) | All Those Things You Shouldn’t Do

For the better part of How to Be single, you are left to ponder, if the movie is trying to feed you how not to be single. That was a titular bummer right there. Then the journey of this weird girl Alice played by Dakota Johnson starts. Oh, the choices she makes! You can’t help but shake your head. Boy is she riding on a downhill or what? If it doesn’t make you want to step into the movie and slap some sense into her, then you are not really paying attention.

PLOT OF HOW TO BE SINGLE

How to be single is more like watching Alice make mistakes, thousands of them, and then feel sorry for herself in the end when things don’t work out. If you really try to figure things out from her perspective, you let it pass, because love’s a topic that messes with people. Alice is constantly looking for it, even when she unequivocally claims that she wishes to spend some time alone, and not sediment. But what is surprising is the fact that she is actually constantly scavenging for someone to baby her down.

still of dakota johnson as alice in how to be single

I need to know who I am alone.

Alice makes all the wrong moves and ends up in a muck of her own doing. It is hard to feel sorry for her, because she clings on to any flickering hope like a moth. This contrasting image in Liz Tuccillo’s story is something that is capable of miffing you up. On the bright side, to assuage things down, you have other characters in the movie that try to make the story less punishing.

CHARACTERS IN HOW TO BE SINGLE (POSSIBLE SPOILERS)

There is the sister Meg, played by Leslie Mann who is trying hard to have a baby. The coolest and the kinkiest Robin who is, hands down, one of the most interesting characters in How to be Single. Played by a psychotic Rebel Wilson, she remains the only one who tries to bide by the theme of the movie. Sadly she ends up becoming a cameo that shows up only when Alice is trying to bounce back to normalcy like a tilting doll. Oh by the way, Robin has an insane sense of humour. It is hard not to want her as your BFF.

still of dakota johnson and anders holm drink number count

Then there is Tom, the bartender, played by Anders Holm who likes to eavesdrop more than serving people. It is almost like he is never working. Always trying to push his zest before he would place a drink on the table. His story is like, well, another perplexing abyss that you don’t want to head towards.

There are childish things that are made into ‘things’ that get stretched too much. Like that ‘drink number’ thing that was totally uncalled for. Then at times the humour becomes clichéd, and suddenly you realize that the whole thing actually reeks of stark banality.

WHAT WORKS NEVERTHELESS

I think the humour quotient helps How to Be Single to stand a chance. Because there is always something witty in the corner waiting to lighten you up. In the vanguard is none other than Rebel Wilson who drops hilarious lines with her more than perfect comic timing. Alice comes around too at odd hours, showing us that she is not all cuddly and wobbly, that there is a unique cool side to her too. Other characters like Lucy played by Alison Brie and Tom often crack you up with their conversations, but you don’t really see a chemistry developing there.

David story taken up by Damon Wayans Jr. seems like an exercise in futility as well. The way he changes color is so inhuman like that you see through his act.

The best jests are hidden in the starting moments of How to Be Single, when Alice is creating an uncanny relationship with Rebel, and of course whenever Rebel shows up. In its eventuality however when things kind of settle, you do get happy feels.

THE FINAL VERDICT

It goes without saying that Alice’s irrepressible urge to find love is simply disappointing. Be prepared to hear you say this out more often, “Is she for real?” Also, watch her more than often try to struggle with her dress, which might force you to think why is she always getting into those clothes she is having trouble with. Then when you really think of it, it is more akin those choices she makes. It’s kind of an obvious way to say that Alice is always looking for someone to take care of her. When she scours naught, she cries in her misery.

As we reach the culminating crises, we finally come to realize that Alice gets to justify the movie moniker. For the first time in her life, she is not looking for someone and trying to finish unfulfilled tasks and learning to live with herself.

The thing about being single is, you should cherish it. Because in a week, or a lifetime, of being alone, you may only get one moment. One moment, when you are not tied up in a relationship with anyone. A parent, a pet, a sibling, a friend. One moment, when you stand on your own. Really, truly single. And then, it’s gone.

still of dakota johnson as alice in how to be single final scene

When the above lines are dropped you see Alice fulfilling her dream to witness the sunrise at Grand Canyon. But just when she turns you almost know that she has found someone yet again. Can’t this girl stay single like ever?

Anyways, you can watch this one as something light on your watch-list.

Check out the trailer of How to Be Single here: