The Post is Steven Spielberg's Ode to the Adversarial Press


It is Liz Hannah's first screenplay. This Dreamworks/20th Century Fox film has already received numerous accolades and with a limited release in December, it qualifies as a swift competitor at this year's Academy Awards. Seeing those two threads intertwine in such a gripping and energetic movie, with a large cast so good that it's nearly unfair, really, is a blast.

The film is built on the debates between Graham and Bradlee, between Bradlee and his editors, between editors and their sources, between journalists and businessmen, between the written word and the legal one - leading up to the first story in The Washington Post on the Pentagon papers. He turns whistleblower, gets the Pentagon Papers out of Rand Corporation, photocopies and sends it to the New York Times who publish it. President after president knew the war was unwinnable but continued sending young Americans to die.

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Steven Spielberg's new film about how the Washington Post handled the publishing of the so-called "Pentagon papers" in 1971 is not only educational and informative but also entertaining and terribly timely.

Streep said she was drawn to the story by the strength of Graham's convictions at a time when there were few female voices in the media, let alone in senior positions. Like a lot of women of that era who faced persistent sexism, Graham has internalized other men's doubts about her abilities, and is tongue-tied around them even when she's the boss. Ben is aghast but can not do anything about it except carry excerpts from the NYT's stories until three days later, the Court bars the publication from carrying any of the research papers, and at the same time, The Post gets the story and the rest of the research papers. When parts of the Papers are published by The New York Times, Nixon and his administration put the kibosh on further publication in the name of "national security".

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When journalists watch films such as "The Post" or "Spotlight", they see how dedicated reporters, editors, copyeditors and an entire newspaper staff can take a kernel of truth and transform it into a paradigm-shifting story. He pursues the story with the purest, strongest force known to journalism - that of the scooped trying to scoop their scooper. Also, the way the costume and set designers bring the 70s back to life is simply stunning, and all those old-school newsrooms full of typewriters and paper stacks invoke nostalgia.

Even though anyone who knows the history knows what happens, the suspense is palpable. But when the Post's fortunes and her family's legacy are on the line, she shows a resolve to make the tough calls - sometimes going against male advisers who urge her to do the opposite. In fact, it's endearing to see Graham and Bradlee get into quibbles when it comes to deciding certain editorials - and Bradlee guards his turf quite seriously. Here, too, there are moments that are a bit overwrought-Graham descends the steps of the Supreme Court through a sea of women gazing at her in unabashed hero-worship-but it's a fascinating piece of character study, even if it's one that's more parallel to the central narrative than integrated into it. "Well, you run the gamut with her, because there's something like The Devil Wears Prada", he said. "Show" partner David Cross. Like the similar "Spotlight", with which it shares a co-writer, "The Post" is a journalistic procedural that's an engrossing how-did-they-do-it bolstered by some stellar performances.

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The timing of "The Post" couldn't be better: Ever since Donald Trump got elected, the free press in America has been under attack again.