‘The Post’: A Mesmerizing Journalism Drama And The Courage Of Katharine Graham

By Moira Macdonald
The Seattle Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Columnist Moira Macdonald describes the movie like this, “The film is both a gripping and timely celebration of the free press, and, in the remarkable hands of Streep, an exploration of what it meant then (and, perhaps, now) to be a woman thrust into power in an all-male world.”

The Seattle Times

In a key moment in Steven Spielberg’s mesmerizing journalism drama “The Post,” Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) is on a nighttime phone call, with several powerful men in her ear telling her, conflictingly, what she should do.

Agonized but trying to remain calm, she makes the decision (“Let’s go”), hangs up the phone, and raises a hand, palm flat, to the empty room around her, as if she’s pushing away any second thoughts.

Later, that same night, that hand gets raised again, but this time, it’s to a roomful of men, silencing them with a newfound imperiousness. “I’m talking to Mr. Bradlee now,” she says, in her dusky patrician voice; it’s as if she’s been transformed, in just a few hours.

Mr. Bradlee was Ben Bradlee (an agreeably blustering Tom Hanks), the legendary editor of the Post under Graham.

“The Post” mostly takes place during one week in 1971 as the two grappled with whether to publish the leaked Pentagon Papers, top-secret Department of Defense documents examining the U.S.’s role in the Vietnam War.

It’s an old-school movie in the very best of ways: a story-driven drama that’s paced almost like a thriller, taking us back to days when newspapers were assembled in hot type by men in fedoras (well, maybe that’s a costume designer’s flourish, but I’d like to believe it) and when suspense could be conveyed by some extremely dramatic Xeroxing.

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