What do you get when you cross lies that were decades in the making with an up-and-coming, regional newspaper? One of the most influential moments in American history. And what do you get when you cross that moment with one of the greatest directors of all time, Steven Spielberg? Yet another great movie.
“The Post” follows the release and fallout of the “Pentagon Papers,” highly classified government documents covering the 30-year involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War and some major deceptions of the American people by its government, and centers around how “The Washington Post,” or “The Post,” handled the situation.
Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), owner and publisher of “The Post,” is finalizing the stock market launch of the paper at the beginning of the movie, in a move meant to strengthen the publication’s national presence. Following the initial release of the “Pentagon Papers” by “The New York Times” (“The Times”), Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), editor-in-chief of “The Post,” tries to play catch up while covering the events.
After “The Times” releases several issues covering the long-running deception by the American government, a court injunction halts further publication of the “Pentagon Papers” by “The Times.” Once “The Post” employees track down the man responsible for the release of the documents, Graham and Bradlee must decide whether to challenge the government’s ruling on the matter or to fold on their responsibility to the American public.
Streep and Hanks deliver almost flawless performances. Streep once again had the opportunity to play a strong female character. Graham is portrayed in this movie as unsure of herself and her leadership abilities, but still manages to lead a “regional” newspaper into a national fight between the government and the press.
“The Post” presents a unique look at a significant turning point in American history. Until this time, there was an overwhelming sense of faith in our government and the men who operated it. For that faith to be tarnished for the first time altered the political landscape.
There is a scene in this movie where Graham and Bradlee discuss the relationship between the press and politicians. Bradlee mentions that because of how close knit the two were, it became difficult for journalists to report the grievances of the government. This event proved, at least for Bradlee, that this close relationship had to end. It’s interesting to see that, in some cases, this issue still exists in today’s society.
“The Post” is a fascinating rollercoaster of emotions that doesn’t end until the final scenes. I highly recommend this to everyone, especially those with an interest in journalism, American history or government conspiracies.