The Post

Steven Spielberg’s The Post has its moments of intrigue (delivered primarily by Meryl Streep as Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham) but is, in the end, a pretty prosaic treatment of the 1971 Pentagon Papers case and the birth of the animus between The Post and the Nixon administration. The Post and the New York Times were co-defendants pitted against the Defense Department, which claimed the papers exposed the nation to enemy threat by reporting on U.S. military operations in Vietnam, operations that were mischaracterized and misrepresented by senior officials. Tom Hanks delivers a solidly controlled performance as Post editor Ben Bradlee, who along with Graham would usher the formerly cuddly paper into an era of aggressive watchdogging that culminated with the Watergate investigation. What makes the film really compelling — beyond these heavy matters — is watching the evolution of Graham from society doyenne into a principled newspaper woman who dared to believe in a free and unencumbered press.

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