The Post races to a moving finish - one that will make you cheer and be inspired at the same time. Focusing on a tense few weeks during 1971, the film recalls The Washington Post's anguish over whether to publish portions of the Pentagon Papers - a damning classified report chronicling America's dubious involvement in Southeast Asia post World War II. Those top-secret documents detailed how the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations had lied to the public about the Vietnam War and the chances our troops could win. When Nixon calls the New York Times "our enemy" in the movie (which, by the way, is taken from an original audio file recorded at The White House and part of the infamous Nixon-tapes revealed through the Watergate investigation) it immediately pulls one back into the current daily news cycle.
Tom Hanks (as Ben Bradlee): "Not yet". The documents became known as The Pentagon Papers.
The Post, directed by Steven Spielberg, is less enjoyable than 2015's Spotlight in much the same way that this year's The Darkest Hour was less enjoyable than Dunkirk.
Meryl Streep does Graham and Tom Hanks Bradlee.
It opens Friday, and you can sleep soundly in the knowledge that despite The Post's inherent narrative flaws, it's a Spielberg flick.
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I don't know whether history will finally settle on Post publisher Katharine Graham as the equal of Eleanor Roosevelt or Rosa Parks but "The Post" goes a long way toward making a great historical figure out of a privileged woman who was raised and expected to be something else entirely. This to me is a patriotic movie.
Spielberg occasionally hammers a little hard on the main message of "The Post", about the press's watchdog role against a deceitful presidency, but that doesn't make this story of First Amendment heroism any less compelling or necessary.
I was reading the Los Angeles Times because my wife and I were there last month to visit our daughters.
The Post's message is similar to that of Spotlight, another champion of good journalism and victor of 2015's Best Picture: The media, for all its myriad faults, is still an important bulwark for democracy, serving as a necessary check to those elected to power as well as informing citizens and voters.
Yes, it was inspiring, a reminder to those of us who have remained in the newspaper business, amid all its changes and cutbacks, about why we keep on. But it is very much about today, and its themes of freedom of the press and speaking truth to power resonate now in the Donald Trump era of so-called "Fake News" just as much, if not more, than they did in the early 1970s. He doesn't believe in anything standing between the public and the truth. I don't think she had any intention [of declaring]. The report, leaked to the Times by a former Pentagon analyst, Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys), details how top officials in the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations knew the war was impossible to win, but lied to the public to keep it going at an added cost of thousands of USA service members' lives. He sees a chance for his regional paper to claw onto an equal footing with more prestigious rival publications in New York City, Chicago, and Boston. Indeed, Ellsberg was prosecuted under the Espionage Act and faced the possibility of a 115-year sentence. I was rooting for him to get out of the Pentagon without getting caught.