Movie Review: The Post, A Spielberg Movie

This is my first movie review I have ever written, but this movie, The Post directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer resonated with me. The movie will resonate with most pre-millennial age women. It is, however, a movie women and girls of all ages should watch and learn. Not only because Meryl Streep is brilliant in the starring role as Katherine Graham, but she captures the very essence of what it is like to be a woman of that era, and sadly, in some ways still today.

(My review may contain movie spoilers… you’ve been warned.)

It was unintentional that my husband and I went to see this movie on the day of the 2018 Women’s March. And to be honest, I had not read any reviews about this movie and only saw glimpses of the trailer on television, starring Meryl Streep as Katherine Graham and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee. It was this movie that capped off a day of seeing women across America seeking the empowerment that Katherine Graham could never have imagined.

Captivating Scenes

There are many scenes in this movie that resonated with me and not just scenes of Katherine Graham. Scenes of Katherine practicing her presentation to persuade bankers to support her efforts to take the company, The Post in a public offering and then only to crash and burn in silence when the time came in the boardroom.

Ben Bagdikian, played by Bob Odenkirk, who is simply remarkable in this role, comes face to face with answering his own journalistic purpose when confronted with assuring Daniel Ellsberg played by Mathew Rhys that he will publish what has come to be known as the Pentagon Papers.

But there are two scenes that still bring tears as I write this review that were so moving and played so brilliantly by Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks that made it clear for me what the Women’s March of today means.

Katherine Graham is in her granddaughter’s bedroom watching them sleep and she is trying to read a note written by her daughter right after Katherine’s husband had died. Her daughter walks in the room and reads the letter because Katherine does not have her reading glasses. I will never forget the look in Katherine’s face, the softness in her voice and even more so, the look in her eyes in that incredibly reckoning and moving scene.

And the scene that really had me crying as I sat there in the movie theatre, is when Katherine stands up to her patronizing male advisors in that darkened study in her home. While Tom Hanks did a standup job of portraying Ben Bradlee (it wasn’t his best role, but I don’t know who else could have played Ben better), does not say one word, but the look on his face tells me that he is enjoying not just a Katherine’s decision but more importantly Katherine coming into her own as the head of her father’s publishing empire with her courageous decision.

Side Bar: Meryl Streep

Whatever you believe about Meryl Streep and her relationship with Harvey Weinstein, you cannot deny that she is a cinematic treasure of all time. I was wary about Meryl’s statements that she did not know about Harvey’s predatory behavior. I bring this up in this review because she plays a woman from my mother’s era and my era who often were conditioned to look away or believe that “boys will be boys.” And remembering my own #MeToo experiences, I believe it is possible that Meryl did not know (should have known? I don’t know in her case or in my own).

Hoot Rating

On a scale of 1 to 5 Hoots, the movie, The Post, directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer receives an enthusiastic 5-Hoot Rating!

P.S. As always, John Williams musical score is beautifully powerful.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale

Final word

And for the men (and sadly too, the women) who may mock this review because of my reference to the 2018 Women’s March and begin chanting Helen Reddy’s song, I am Woman, Hear Me Roar. All I have to say about that is, I feel sorry for you and especially those around you. The Women’s March is about empowerment. We don’t need to agree on every topic relevant to women, but women will no longer be looked through, looked up and down, or looked past again. I want any future granddaughter of mine to be recognized and respected as an intelligent human being worthy of anything she puts her heart and mind in pursuing.

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Reality Check

Getting personal

My mother hurt me to the core this past summer. A hurt cutting so deep that it opened-up once again childhood wounds that I had worked diligently to confront and heal over the past several years. I saw a new side of her, or rather a side, I tried not to see for a long time. And because of long standing childhood wounds and this last straw, my behavior had become a blaring, blinking, red danger light and it was becoming apparent in everything I was posting online, writing or journaling.

My attitude was becoming belligerent a result of coming from a place of anger and deep sadness. I was retreating more and more into a self-imposed exile away from family, friends, and even God.

Getting real

Attitudes are shaped by past and present experiences, perceptions, long standing exposure and repetitive feedback of those around us, particularly those who have raised us and who are closest to us. And our behavior is the result of that attitude that reinforces our beliefs of being bad, good, or worthy.

To make a long story short about the current state of my attitude, I was coping with my anger and emotions versus managing them. Coping, in my opinion, puts a person on the side of weakness instead of empowerment. I needed to get real about my current state of mind.

The outside world

We have become a divisive nation on almost every front and it seems to be getting only worse. I cannot control the world, but I can control what I see, hear, and read. Mind you, I am not putting my head in the sand, which was my own initial fear, but the fact of the matter comes down to these 3 questions I have had to step back and answer:

What do I stand for?

What I am unwilling to negotiate?

What are my core values and how are they being defined in my life?

My personal world

What’s in my control in my personal world just like in the outside world is a bit more daunting when personal slights can trigger emotions regarding long-standing issues. I began to realize how the outside world was feeding the negative experiences and perceptions I had of myself – a few of those auto-wind tapes from childhood I thought I had shredded had been left behind. My parents are who they are, but they have taught me many things, and in some instances how not to treat my own sons. But my parents are not the whole of who I am, their experiences are not the totality of my experiences, nor are they the sum of who I am as a person, a wife, as a mother, as a colleague, as a friend, and so on.

“Getting me” is the same as “getting the other person”

Take for example, University of Michigan coach, John Harbaugh’s response when his son came out as being gay and he immediately responded to his son, “Live your truth.”

Our behavior is determined by our beliefs, either our ability (or inability) to express ourselves and talk about problems comes from our individual frame of references. And are we each open to communicating with each other in a supportive atmosphere? If social media has taught us anything is that making a simple statement to putting our laundry out on the Internet is ripe for ridicule. Whether it is social media or my personal interactions, I am going to live my truth and try to abide by my motto that I developed years ago which is….

The 4 R’s – Resist Reaction Let Reason Rule:

• What is the motive behind my behavior?
• Are my words or my behavior, according to my principles, or they in response to the other person?
• What is my intention with my interactions with others?

Recognizing the danger signals:

Can I?

• Actively listen?
• Acknowledge the other person’s position?
• Accept the other person’s perspective?
• Avoid accusations?
• Move on in grace, knowing my values may not be honored or accepted?

Final note

Whatever that “TRUTH” is even if it is never shared with or honored by another, may we all resist to control, blame, judge, misinform or be indifferent to one another.

Reality check

I’m still in my imposed self-exile working on being positive, kind, and more importantly, healing myself and trying to help others thrive.