Movie Reviews: What I Thought About The Post, Hostiles + Lady Bird

Brandon and I don’t see movies in theater very often. However, we found ourselves in a movie-watching marathon recently, and there’s no turning back now.

We were in part inspired by Brandon’s parents, two of the best weekly daters I know (and we all know a weekly date night is one of my resolutions!). Every Friday, they see a movie at the local movie theater, even splurging on the big bucket of popcorn and candy — the whole experience.

Three weekends ago, Brandon and I saw The Post (after two failed attempts — getting to one showing too late and the next one being sold out). But man, was it well worth the wait. The next weekend, we saw Hostiles with Brandon’s parents, and it was some of the most intense 135 minutes I have endured. And finally, we saw Lady Bird this past weekend. That movie has been on my radar for months, and it did not disappoint.

Here are my thoughts on all three movies. And I promise, there are little-to-zero spoilers (just stuff you would see in a trailer anyway)!

 

The Post

The Post details the true story of The Washington Post journalists who attempted to publish the highly classified Pentagon Papers in the early 1970s. The Pentagon Papers outlined the 30-year involvement of the US government in the Vietnam War. This movie was raw, suspenseful, honest, and empowering.

The film was directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, plus Bob Odenkirk, who I have only seen in Breaking Bad (and Tim and Eric, but that’s beside the point). Spielberg’s touches were all over The Post — from the moody, almost ominous tones to his notorious long takes.

Although the film received criticism for downplaying The New York Times’ heavy involvement in the release of the Pentagon Papers, it was praised for its messaging about the freedom of the press. I won’t get too political here (don’t worry, Mom and Dad!), but The Post beautifully displays the valuable role the press plays — both throughout history and in the present day.

Plus, I saw an overarching theme about female empowerment — another important message in today’s world. We saw The Post on January 20, the same day as the Women’s March, which felt particularly timely and made this powerful film that much more powerful.

Newsflash: In the ‘70s, women in leadership positions were viewed quite differently than they are today. I admired the way Meryl Streep’s character, Katharine Graham, the publisher of The Washington Post, increasingly carried herself with dignity and confidence throughout the story. During the tense process of deciding whether or not to release the papers, Streep said one of my favorite quotes from the movie: “It’s no longer my father’s company. This is no longer my husband’s company. This is my company and anyone who doesn’t like that shouldn’t be on my board.”

Katharine Graham became the first female Fortune 500 CEO in 1972 while she was CEO of The Washington Post. At that time, she was not taken seriously by many male colleagues and employees, and had low self-esteem and self-confidence as a result. However, the women’s movement that began to stir up at the time inspired Graham to shift her attitude about women’s equality and to promote gender equality within the company.

All in all, I would highly recommend this movie — as long as you can dismiss the less-than-accurate depiction of the Times’ role in the release of the Pentagon Papers (because, in reality, The New York Times was the first to release the papers and actually had the legal battle you see the Post enduring). However, in my opinion, the messaging about the press and true depiction of Katharine Graham’s struggles were more important elements. Plus, it’s a particularly interesting movie for those of us who are interested in journalism, public relations, and all things media.

 

Hostiles

Hostiles is one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time. I’m not usually a fan of Westerns, so that surprises even me. Starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, and Wes Studi, Hostiles is set in 1892, a time of intense and violent conflict in America.

I won’t explain the opening scene of the movie (for spoiler reasons), but I will say that it was jarring, shocking and downright disturbing — as are several other scenes. The various events that take place as a result of this scene are some of the most emotional in the movie. I’ll just say: I was bawling during the scene that involved Rosamund Pike’s character, Rosalie, digging in the dirt.

The film follows the journey of Captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale), who is ordered by the president to escort the dying Cheyenne war chief, Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi), and his family back to their tribal lands in Montana.

The non-stop action will keep you on edge the whole movie. The acting, costuming and filming are all phenomenal, and the scenery through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana is breathtaking. But more importantly, Hostiles tells a beautiful story of reconciliation, trust, overcoming hatred, and ultimately, finding love. All three stars (Christian Bale in particular) do a spectacular job in their roles, letting us feel the raw emotions felt during those fictional yet realistic events.

It was another timely film that spoke to the horrible nature of prejudice and hatred in a dramatic and in-your-face retelling of history.

 

Lady Bird

As mentioned, I had been wanting to see Lady Bird for months and finally saw it last weekend! It was everything I had dreamed of.

One of my clients, Lyon Real Estate, is based in Sacramento, which is where Lady Bird is set, so I was particularly excited to see it for that very reason. I write community content for Lyon’s blog, which means I have spent countless hours over the last two years researching Sacramento, writing about Sacramento, tweeting about Sacramento, emailing about Sacramento, and meeting people who live in Sacramento. I have spent so much time on Google Maps in that city, that I could practically give you directions to the nearest coffee shop.

Plus, Brandon and I visited Sacramento this summer, and it was incredible to see it in real life. Despite what you’ve heard, Sacramento truly is a special, unique, charming and evolving city. And that’s what Lady Bird so eloquently announced.

Set in 2002, this coming-of-age story follows high-schooler, Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), and her dysfunctional relationship with her mother. While the two (among other characters) take center stage throughout the film, the city of Sacramento is itself a main character in the movie. I loved witnessing Lady Bird’s internal battles over her inevitable admiration for the city, what she truly thought of her nagging mother, and all of the other relationship drama that takes place in her senior year.

Okay, it’s true — I cry during almost every movie I watch, even if it’s Pixar (but come on, Inside Out, anyone?!). So I even cried during this hilarious, light-hearted, Juno-meets-Little-Miss-Sunshine movie. The mother-daughter relationship portrayed in Lady Bird can be so aggravating but still beautiful in subtle ways. The airport scene is just…gut-wrenching.

 

Did you see any of these movies?

What did you think? I would love to know your thoughts!