Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Entertaiment | By Mabel Barber

Steven Spielberg Delivers Another Classic with The Post

Steven Spielberg Delivers Another Classic with The Post

But "The Post" isn't a valediction to a vanishing era, but a call to arms for the new one. The film is a tribute to the people that do good work and are willing to hold the powerful accountable. Richard Nixon is in the White House. Bradlee and Graham clash as editors and publishers do, but there is a foundation of respect there too - and it is a joy to watch Hanks and Streep share the screen.

The Post, set in the 1970s, talks about the tense times when The Washington Post made a decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. government's secret history of the Vietnam War. Rhys plays the whistleblower who leaked the infamous Pentagon Papers.

In fact, as a story, the whole Pentagon Papers saga has everything against it. When another reporter, Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk) tracks down Ellsberg and gets ahold of the papers himself, Bradlee sees his chance for the Post to play catch up. Liz Hannah and Josh Singer's less-than-fully-formed script struggles to find the drama in "The Post", which recounts the real-life story of how a cover-up that spanned four US presidents pushed Graham (the country's first female newspaper publisher) and Bradlee to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government. Working from a screenplay by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, Spielberg evokes not only the feel of the 1970s, but also movies from that period - notably the standard-setter for films about journalism, "All the President's Men".

In this image released by 20th Century Fox, Tom Hanks portrays Ben Bradlee in a scene from "The Post".

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.

The pair also spoke about Oprah Winfrey's speech at this week's Golden Globes, and the talk that the former TV star could be planning a Presidential run. She took over after Phil Graham, who struggled with mental illness, committed suicide in 1963. The company was on the verge of going public with a stock offering, and it was not an optimum time for ticking off the Feds.

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For a thriller containing multiple story threads, "The Post" moves at a crackling pace (1 hour, 55 minutes). In a word, she's magnificent, and when it comes time to compile her legacy, this performance, one full of fear, confidence, verve and doubt, will rank among her best.

Meryl Streep does Graham and Tom Hanks Bradlee. Here he mostly coasts, giving into Spielberg's taint for cuteness, like a running gag about Bradlee's young daughter, Marina, making bundles of cash off the lawyers and reporters filling the family's Georgetown residence to pour over thousands of pages of stolen government documents.

Meryl Streep (sure to score another Oscar nomination) is Kay Graham, president and publisher of the Post, but as Streep so sublimely conveys, Mrs. It's fitting of Streep's current role in Hollywood's #MeToo moment.

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.

And while there is an interesting tick tock of will-they-won't-they publish the papers that propels the film forward, 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. It's vital that the rest of America learns them, and quickly.

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