Powerful and Timely
Steven Spielbergís The Post takes us back to a time when our government tried to stop the Pentagon Papers -- documents that exposed a cover up of U. S. actions regarding the Vietnam War and Southeast Asia -- from being published. This dramatic film pairs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee, publisher and editor of The Washington Post, respectively. What a treat it is to watch these great actors play off each other as their characters work together during a major crisis for freedom of the press in our democracy! I felt like a fly on the wall during their conversations and even forgot that itís Hanks and Streep up there on the screen.
This motion picture seems especially timely today because so many leaks and accusations of fake news are running rampant in our society now. The film helps us understand how important it is to check the facts and to have journalists with integrity who are willing to write the truth, even if it concerns powerful individuals.
As someone who lived through this crisis while it played out in reality, I am surprised at how suspenseful The Post was for me to watch.
Publish or not, they must decide.
Free press at risk, and itís their guide.
ďThe PostĒ looks back to show the need
to make sure truth is there to read.
Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks play roles
that evoke cheers for their fine goals.
As editor and publisher,
they muster courage, thatís for sure.
An injunction stands in their way --
and prison if they donít obey.
Though slow a bit with its tense plot,
this powerful film means a lot.
Matthew Rhys (The Americans) portrays Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst upset about the U.S. practice of sending soldiers to fight a war that canít be won. Because he knows that more than one U.S. President has been aware of this cover up, he wants the truth to come out. Heís the leaker, and Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) plays Ben Bagdikian, one of the first reporters to get the Pentagon Papers. Both actors deliver very realistic performances -- as does Bruce Greenwood (Geraldís Game), who goes deep into the role of worried Robert McNamara, former Secretary of Defense for both JFK and LBJ. (McNamara originally commissioned the Vietnam study that became known as The Pentagon Papers.)
The film soon kicks into high gear. A battle between the government and the press unfolds on screen and gains momentum when President Nixon requests an injunction in order to prevent publication of these secret documents. Although this movie emphasizes The Washington Post activities, The New York Times was also significantly involved in the struggle.
Spielberg, working from an intelligent screenplay by Liz Hannah (Skin) and Josh Singer (Spotlight), has directed another movie that matters -- one with historical significance like Schindlerís List and Saving Private Ryan.
(Released by Twentieth Century Fox and rated ďPG-13Ē for language and brief war violence.)
For more information about The Post, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.