Numbers obtained from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes on January 19, 2018.
|My rating||IMDb||Rotten Tomatoes
When you see Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks’ names together in project, directed by Steven Spielberg, it is impossible not to have high expectations immediately. Perhaps that is why The Post has been so anticipated and seen as an Oscar contender even before it was released.
Set in 1971, it follows the story of how the Pentagon Papers – classified U.S. government documents detailing the military’s true assessment of the Vietnam War – were released by The New York Times and how the government was able to get a judicial order that would stop the newspaper from publishing them any longer.
That is when The Washington Post gets in the game and obtains copy of the Papers. Its chief editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) is 100% sure the The Post has to publish them and preserve the freedom of the press. Other shareholders of the newspaper, however, were not that certain. The decision, then, to print or not fell into Katharine Graham’s (Meryl Streep) lap.
As the country’s first female newspaper publisher, Katharine Graham is constantly undermined by virtually any other man around her – even by Ben Bradlee, who is below her in the chain of command. There is a scene where he categorically tells her: “keep your finger out of my eye”. That is precisely what makes this movie extremely interesting and different from other journalistic films.
Whereas All The President’s Men and Spotlight focus more on the scandals and the investigations prior to the publications, The Post‘s central character is not the Vietnam War scandal per se, but rather Katharine Graham and what it took for her to decide to take an enormous risk and publish something the court had already decided another newspaper was not allowed to do.
John Williams’ score also helps with the pacing and rises the tension in many occasions, particularly in a scene where Katharine Graham is pressing a phone to her ear.
It is also a powerful story about censoring and punishing the press. The New York Times Co. v. Unites States is a landmark case until this day where the First Amendment prevailed. It is specially important nowadays due to the current administration’s terrible relationship with the press, accusing more than half of it of “fake news”.
Therefore, it is no surprise that The Post is being viewed as a movie not about 1971, but about 2017, when women were at the center of attention and the press has suffered many backlashes to its freedom. And that is why it is more relevant than ever.