Steven Spielberg’s most recent installment of his biopic film, “The Post,” covers the story of The Washington Post’s journey of publishing the Pentagon Papers, which revealed the U.S. government’s involvement in Vietnam from 1945 – 1967, specifically regarding the government’s foreknowledge of South Vietnam losing the Vietnam War and deceiving the American people. The New York Times originally printed the first pages of the papers, but found themselves in the Supreme Court as the Nixon administration accused them of publishing classified documents.
“The Post” stars Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and many other familiar faces such as Allison Brie and Sarah Paulson. Streep plays Katharine Graham, The Washington Post’s owner, and the first female publisher of a major newspaper. Her co-star, Hanks, plays Ben Bradlee, the headstrong, straight-shooting editor-in-chief at the paper. Both give excellent performances, as expected, specifically Streep, who just recently received her 21st Oscar nomination for her role as Graham.
The film approaches the story at a swift pace that keeps the audience’s attention throughout. In typical Spielberg fashion, he is able to take somewhat of a flat, politically driven storyline and keep it interesting with fascinating characters, witty dialogue and important social commentaries.
Streep’s performance as Graham was one that left quite an impression on me, which is what anyone comes to expect from an actress of her caliber. Graham inherited the paper after her husband passed and, like most women at the time and even today, was undermined by many male figures around her. Graham’s level head, willingness to lead and dedication to journalism as well as the American people, make the story worth telling.
Though it is a solid film, I can’t help feeling that if it weren’t for such a timely release and star studded cast, it could have easily been overlooked or forgotten.
Spielberg has gotten into a rhythm over the past few years of making quality, yet forgettable films. That being said, it is a story that needed to be told in our current political and journalistic climate. There are quite a few parallels that can be made with present day and that point in time. Lies from our government are constantly being revealed, the Executive branch works harder at failing to disprove journalism than running the country and the freedom of the press continues to out every wrong doing of the government.
“The Post” prevails on doing what it set out to do, to tell an important story of a time in American journalism where the government tried its best to silence the press.
Overall, “The Post” is a well-crafted movie and an enjoyable watch, filled with exceptional performances and an impressive screenplay. The timing for the movie’s release could not have been better and will stand as a testament and motivation for today’s media as the fight for the free press rages on.