“The Post” opened in limited release back in December and expanded nationwide last weekend. It has received all kinds of acclaim on both sides of the camera.
The praise is more than justified. It’s an unquestionably important, provocative film that meditates on one of the most crucial and turbulent times in American history.
The movie is based on events in the late 1960s, early 1970s surrounding Kay Graham (Meryl Streep), publisher for the Washington Post, and Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), the paper’s editor-in-chief. Graham decides to get involved in investigative reporting after one of her employees has been given classified information that could devastate the American public.
Of course that information is about none other than the Pentagon Papers and the U.S. government’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Both Graham and Bradlee show hesitation about the prospect of going forward with the story as it could damage their credibility as journalists, and could lead to serious prison time.
The movie does a believable job recreating the mood and tension of the event. And its timely themes make the movie feel relevant and not dated. There are numerous dialogue-driven scenes between Streep and Hanks that make their jobs seem at risk. Their exchanges on what to do are palpable.
Director Steven Spielberg, Streep and Hanks are all in top form as they deliver a movie with effective, compelling performances and Spielberg directs with a taut, economic, breakneck pace. He rarely bogs down into the politics of the matter, avoiding any biased feelings or becoming incoherent.
This film should serve as both a cautionary tale to leaders of the press as well as aspiring journalism students on how to present the events of today’s world with honor, dedication and, most importantly, the truth.
Rated PG-13 for language and brief war violence.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.