The Post

The Post is a 2017 American historical political thriller film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Liz Hannahand Josh Singer. It stars Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of The Washington Post, with Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Carrie Coon, and Matthew Rhys in supporting roles. Set in the early 1970s, The Post depicts the true story of attempts by journalists at The Washington Post to publish the Pentagon Papers, classified documents regarding the 30-year involvement of the United States government in the Vietnam War.

I especially liked seeing Streep as Katherine, a middle-aged woman not too sure of herself and who has been used to seeing her father and then her husband run the company. After her husband’s death she relies heavily on her board’s recommendation and advise to run things as she lacks experience and is frequently overruled by more assertive men who advise or work for her. Hanks plays Ben Bradlee, executive editor of the Washington Post. Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Graham’s longtime friend, confides in her that he is to be the subject of unflattering coverage by the Times.

The story turns out to be an exposé of the government’s long-running deception of the American public. A former govt military expert, who was disillusion by what he saw in Vietnam and that the war was hopeless, steals photocopies classified reports documenting the country’s decades-long involvement in the conflict in Vietnam, dating back to the Truman administration. Ellsberg then leaks these documents to reporters at The New York Times; the movie follows two weeks in 1971 at The Washington Post and the publishing of the Pentagon Papers. However, the series is halted by a court injunction against further publication by the Times.

The Post’s assistant editor Ben Bagdikian tracks down Ellsberg as the source for the leak, who provides Bagdikian with copies of the same material given to the Times. A team in the Post works on these files and ask Katherine’s permission to run the story. The lawyers for the Post advise against publishing the material, lest the Nixon administration bring criminal charges against them. Graham talks to McNamara, Bradlee, and trusted Post chairman Fritz Beebe, agonizing over the decision of whether to publish. The situation is made even more complicated when the Posts lawyers discover that Bagdikian’s source is the same as the Timess, possibly putting Graham in contempt of court. If charges are brought against the company, Graham could destroy the newspaper she sees as a family legacy.

Alternately, if she were to win any legal challenge, the Post could instead establish itself as an important journalistic institution. She chooses to run the story. The White House takes The Times & The Post to the supreme court and the successful ruling of 6-3, is found in favour of the press. Nixon demands that the Post should be barred from the White House. One year later, security guard Frank Wills discovers a break-in in progress at the Watergate complex after a guest at the Watergate hotel called complaining about people using flashlights.

Now, it’s fairly safe to say that both Hanks & Streep are acting heavyweights and that they are just about in the top 5 actors of all time. Or atleast their generation, I dunno. I am a huge fan of both, especially Hanks as I haven’t watched too many movies with Meryl in it but I do love her. This film is not a very exciting one and not one that I am going to want to watch many times over. It’s a big dull and methodical but does have the acting chops to pull it off. A 7.5 outta 10!

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