By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Director Steven Spielberg’s “The Post”
is a journalistic thriller with a message about freedom of the press that is as timely in 2018 as it was in 1971, the year which the movie is set.
Tom Hanks (“Sully”) and Meryl Streep (“Mama Mia: Here We Go Again”) --who have never starred together onscreen until now—are a formidable pair in “The Post.”
Hanks plays Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and Streep stars as the newspaper’s first female publisher, Kay Graham.
Cash strapped and always in the shadow of The New York Times, the newspaper is eager to make more money and increase circulation, but that’s easier said than done.
Then Graham (Streep) learns that the Times is running an explosive feature story--thanks to whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, (Matthew Rhys, TV’s “The Americans” and “Girls”)—regarding classified government documents (The Pentagon Papers).
These documents detail a chain of lies and cover-ups surrounding the Vietnam war and how the presidential administrations of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon lied to the American public about it.
Now Graham is in a precarious position.
She must decide whether to expose Defense Secretary, Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”) for his role in this mess as well as pursue the story with her staff of reporters led by Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk, “The Disaster Artist”).
Doing so is risky and will likely result in pushback from the paper’s Board of Directors. They have questioned her decision-making authority mainly because she’s a woman and she obtained control of the paper after her husband died.
Most of all, Graham’s decision to publish the story would defy the federal court who admonished the Post along with other papers not to run any additional articles.
The heart of “The Post” centers on the tug of war between Bradlee’s eagerness to publish the story without fear or favor and Graham’s personal convictions.
With “The Post,” screenwriters Josh Singer (“Spotlight” and TV’s “The West Wing” and Liz Hannah (“Reign Over Me”) have crafted a companion piece of sorts to the 1976 political drama, “All the President’s Men” which starred the late Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee, the character Hanks plays here.
Streep and Hanks deliver stellar performances as does Odenkirk as the determined, old school journalist sniffing out the story of a lifetime.
And speaking of old school journalists, it’s movies like “The Post,” and “Spotlight” which really resonate with newspaper journalists particularly since the industry seems to be slowly dying. It’s also a fond reminder of just how important a free press is.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:40 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.
Take A Peek At This Trailer For "THE POST"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.