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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2334)

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The Post 
"The Post" by Yojimbo
3/4 stars

When US government documents come to light that cast doubt upon the motives behind and the validity of the Vietnam war, the owner and editor of The Washington Post must weigh the risk of prosecution and ruin against their principles and the very concept of freedom of the press.

It is clearly no accident that Steven Spielberg chose to tell this particular story at this particular time. While the institutions that protect American democracy are under attack from the very highest level - mentioning no names - this story certainly strikes a chord, as does the journey of Meryl Streep's initially timid inheritor of the paper from the ignored and patronized to the tough decision-making leader by example. I am a true believer in all of these principles, but even to me the tone felt rather preachy and manipulative; the whole film seemed like the President's speech in Independence Day rewritten for liberals. The rather soapy relationships also gave it the faint whiff of a "true life TV movie of the day". But Spielberg is the consummate story teller and the message is clearly heartfelt and sincere and I particularly liked the way he used the very machinery of the printing press to show how the words of experienced investigative reporters used to have "weight", before social media's seemingly endless morass of unsubstantiated opinion and misinformation overwhelmed them.

Perhaps a little over-egged in execution, The Post is still an intelligent and timely reminder of the importance of American democracy and the freedom of the press in these dangerous times.


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