History, history, history. I thought I knew plenty. Turns out I didn’t have a Scooby about the Vietnam War. Or much of the context of this film. I feel terrible.
My mum said ‘there’s a lot of words and a lot of information to process’. So I was a bit sceptical. I’m one of those people who pauses during films to ask the other person what the hell is happening. Just because I write about films, doesn’t mean i’m an expert. Or am I. (I’m really not). But I understood the plot like a smooth sailing yacht in the summer breeze. It was easy. And brilliant.
Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks lead the way with Streep as our protagonist. She plays Katharine Graham of The Washington Post; the lady who had to make a call on whether her paper should publish top secret information about the Vietnam War. It’s stressful. There’s a lot at stake. And Spielberg is careful not to turn this into I’m-a-woman-against-all-the-men story. Although he plays into this, there’s so much else going on. Secrets. Betrayal. Loyalty. Heritage. And Streep’s Katharine wades through it like a trooper; all the while displaying the perfect level of vulnerability.
Hanks is great too. When has he never been great. You feel safe when you’re with Hanks. Like you’re hanging out with your dad or watching your brother be nice to everyone. All the actors deserve credit. Shout out to the guy who played the intern and the actress whose character has a two minute dialogue with Streep in the courtroom. She makes these two minutes the best she’s probably ever had.
And of course with Spielberg behind it, you’re in for a brilliant bit of filmmaking. There are long scenes with dialogue, but you don’t get bored. Because he knows exactly what he’s doing. Look at one of the opening scenes with Streep and Hanks’s characters in a cafe, discussing the state of the paper. It goes on and on. The camera angles don’t change. They probably did it in one take. And it’s fascinating. Because it’s Streep and Hanks. When have we had this chance before? And, unlike plenty of other films, there are no punches pulled to guide them on their way. It’s two actors. Sat around a table. Remembering their lines. Talking in character. Discussing. Arguing. Setting the story.
So I highly recommend this film. And it’s worth every bit of its Oscars nod. I saw it with my dad and he really enjoyed it too.
We had VIP seats.
Well – you know the ones where you pay more to sit more comfortably.
That sort of VIP.
But still VIP in our own special way.