The new Steven Spielberg drama, “The Post,” about historical events in the 1970s, has some elements in the story that appear as if it could potentially happen today, given the current issues the journalists have faced starting this past year. The Vietnam War was raging at the time and plenty of controversy existed about the U. S. involvement.
The script written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer has an early scene that involves The Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood). He seeks a report and opinion from the Rand Corporation employee Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) who is on return from working in Vietnam. Although Ellsberg provides his honest opinion about matters there, McNamara elects to provide a different story to the press ready for an update. It is not long after that the film develops with the actions taken by Ellsberg, Neil Sheehan (Justin Swain) a Times correspondent, and subsequently, Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), the editor of the Washington Post, and his boss/owner, Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep). It is a well made film with a different type of edge of the seat action and tension between the press and the White House. “The Post” is a film that should be viewed by a wide and diverse audience, especially the younger generations unfamiliar with the activity about the release of the Pentagon Papers, files that are visibly labeled “Top Secret – Sensitive.” It also serves as a good review for those of us who may not have had a handle on the full version of the facts revealed from the files.
Hanks and Streep’s performances are top – notch as to be expected from their extensive career. Despite knowing their talent as an actor, they make the viewer forget their familiar faces and feel as if they are viewing these historical characters and what they went through to achieve the goals of not having their voice muzzled. They want to tell the truth about what the government is doing.
As editor of The Post, Ben Bradlee (Hanks), has long term newspaper experience and knows when things are amiss in the competitive journalism world, especially when it involves The Times. He seeks to take action and yet the Post proprietor and friend, Katharine Graham (Streep), is not on the same page about things. After all, the need to raise capital and going public on the stock market are pressing issues now. That is until the Nixon Administration files an injunction against the Times – an unexpected action that can potentially set precedence for all publications and reporters. It is impossible not to feel the tension building as critical decisions have to be made and deadlines are pending. When Mrs. Graham decides and declares “Let’s publish,” it is certainly an edge of seat moment.
The costumes that Streep wears for this film are just perfect from the 1970s and the costume designer for Spielberg, Ann Roth, is worthy of award nominations for her work. The outfit Streep is wearing while she is hosting a party is a beautiful caftan reminiscent of the era.
Don’t miss viewing this film before the upcoming awards are announced.
The film has an MPAA Rating of PG-13 with a run time of 130 minutes and opens in Austin January 12th. Source: 20th Century Fox