The Post: A Quality Film That Carries Two Timely Themes
I had to go into the movie with some expectations because Steven Spielberg does not make bad movies, and the cast had Tom Hanks and Merrill Streep for starters.
It’s always hard to know whether the times make the movie or the movie makes the times; culture and Art seem to take turns leading the way. In any case, I was just young enough to not understand what the Pentagon papers were in the early 70s. I distinctly remember that phrase as having been constantly in the news while I was in high school. What I didn’t know was that the events covered so well in this film blazed a trail that made it more possible for the press to act in the role of watchdog when centers of power acted against the interests of the country.
The film was a quality construction, and
I particularly enjoyed the journey to the inner workings of a newspaper: the necessary business of the having the”scoop,” the almost chaotic process of journalists gathering and composing news, and then close-ups of the intricate, inky typesetting machinery, the thundering juggernaut–like workings of the press itself.
The acting was excellent, though I preferred Jason Robards’ version of Ben Bradlee to Hanks’.
The movie touched on two poignant themes that cover the headlines today: the role of the news, and the role of women in society. Katharine Graham was an under-sung hero in the way she stood up to male voices around her and made a difficult decision that affects us yet today. After all, it could be said that the events of the Pentagon papers story were a necessary precursor to the events of Watergate.
I decided at one point during the movie that among noble vocations, journalists– sincere ones, not propagandists – rank high: they are guardians of truth–which has everything to do with freedom.