When you hear that a film is starring Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and directed by Steven Spielberg you would think automatic success done deal — here is your Oscar right now moment right? Well almost. This film has an embarrassment of riches in talent including those previously mentioned with Sarah Paulson, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, Bob Odenkirk, Matthew Rhys, Bradley Whitford, Tracey Letts, and Bruce Greenwood. They all bring brilliant performances – but it is Meryl Streep who not only carries the film but brings the best performance out of them all to showcase how great of an actor Meryl Streep is with her subtle looks in her face.
The plot of the film is pretty straightforward where it showcases these papers on the Vietnam War that were taken by Daniel Ellsberg to be given to the press. The New York Times acquired the same information and were told by the government not to publish the papers where the ethical question comes in mind — “Should the press report and publish classified documents that fundamentally change how Americans view the government that governs them?” That question does hover over the whole story and though it does pose that no one power should have ultimate power in saying who should do what in any given situation regardless of consequences, the people who are being governed deserve the truth.
News is the first rough draft of history.
The negatives I had with the film is that the reveals and moments of triumph felt anticlimactic in comparison to similar films like “Spotlight” that felt more grand at the third act climax. I wish that the point had been more impactful, though the events are true. The editing of the film from being about a woman in a power struggle to the shift in showcasing the necessity of the press to keep the government in check with the balance of power was apparent. Though it doesn’t feel rush it does feel uneven. If it had maintained one focus it would have been more impactful.
I would say the film is a pleasant time to watch at home or at a matinee to showcase some great talent both behind and infront of the screen giving their best with a rushed product. Steven Spielberg should be commended for doing what he did to not only get this script rushed to be in front of the cameras, shot, edited and ready to release in a year but also getting great talent seeming like a breeze should not be overlooked. In this political climate it is important for everyone to get the fact rights do the research and doing whats best for the country than whats best for an individual.