Randall Beach: A timely movie about truth comes to our theaters

13 January, 2018, 06:58 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • Twentieth Century Fox

It's a lot to tackle, but naturally, Spielberg has it all well in hand and he doesn't limit his spectacular casting to Streep and Hanks.

Not much has changed, you think, perhaps world over, which is what makes Steven Spielberg's film inescapably timely and pertinent.

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.

An even more famous confrontation would come a few years later with The Post's coverage of the Watergate scandal, which led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974. When more of the papers end up at The Washington Post, which was struggling to stay afloat and in the midst of a risky public offering, Owner/Publisher Kay Graham (Streep) and Executive Editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) have to make some hard decisions that could incriminate their entire organization for the benefit of the American people and the world. Hanks plays Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee.

The Pentagon Papers, as they became known, were a trove of leaked secret documents about the Vietnam War at odds with the official version of government officials' pronouncements.

In fact, as a story, the whole Pentagon Papers saga has everything against it.

Bradlee fumes and orders his staff to play catch-up. At a time when "fake news" is bandied about as a way to undercut the profession, it's great to see why reporters do what they do. This to me is a patriotic movie.

While there is an interesting tick tock of will-they-won't-they publish the papers, at the heart of the story is Graham, an obviously smart and capable woman who is full of doubt, and is doubted by almost everyone around her. That's what Tom Hanks' Ben Bradlee says midway through "The Post" when he's hot on the trail of a scoop and the pieces start coming together.

Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

After receiving Golden Globes nominations in six categories, including best motion picture drama and best screenplay, viewers all over the USA will finally get to see the film on Friday.

Despite earning six Golden Globe awards and being a likely candidate for the Oscars, The Post earned no nominations for the upcoming Screen Actor Guild Awards announced last week.

There's loads of name-dropping (Bradlee recalls meals with slain Prez JFK) and former defense secretary Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood) is a friend of Mrs Graham, a connection she refuses to exploit since he was the one who had commissioned the Pentagon Papers. It was also particularly dicey because Graham was about to take the company public with a stock offering.

Thus does "The Post" move from a crackling newsroom yarn to a showcase for Streep's now-expected brilliance.

You have already seen Star Wars.

Meryl Streep cut a stunning figure in black on the red carpet at the London premiere of her new film, The Post, earlier this week.

The subtext of sharp women - such as Streep's Graham and Carrie Coon as Post editorial page editor Meg Greenfield - having to navigate rooms full of condescending men is deliciously on point at this moment. The film is looking, mostly successfully, to carry on the fine tradition of All The President's Men, Good Night and Good Luck and Spotlight.

Steven Spielberg's The Post comes at a time when freedom of the press and the responsibility of the media have come under scrutiny, worldwide. It's hers, says Graham, with the decision to publish hers alone.

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