Where The Post Ranks On The List Of All-Time Great Journalism Movies

Sheri Evans
January 14, 2018

It was a way to improve your daily focus on the nearest available approximation of the truth.

Steven Spielberg took the script by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer and directed a movie that will hold up over time.

While the film doesn't quite reach the stratospheric levels of "Spotlight" and "All the President's Men", it is strikingly well performed and pertinent. The film is a love letter to old newspapers, the camera lingering on the typesetters toiling on Linotype machines, and conveyor belts sending newspapers high into the sky as if they were delivering today's edition directly to the heavens.

While working at the Pentagon, Daniel Ellsberg discovers a cover-up concerning the war in Vietnam that spanned four USA presidents.

The Oscar-winning actress headlines Steven Spielberg's latest film, portraying The Washington Post publisher Katharine "Kay" Graham as she contemplates publishing the Pentagon Papers, documents that revealed the USA had secretly enlarged the scope of its actions in the Vietnam War. And yet, the message is so crucial, the weight of the increasingly forgotten journalistic obligation is so heavy, that The Post still winds up a must see.

An even more famous confrontation would come a few years later with The Post's coverage of the Watergate scandal, which led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

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The crisis: Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) has stolen the Pentagon Papers and given them to the New York Times, which has begun publishing the secrets of those papers.

That's unimportant anyway. What's most important is the story. Hanks captures his irreverent, adventurous spirit engrossingly. People were too cowed by him to disobey. "President Obama said in a recent interview, 'It's not that democracy is fragile but it's reversible.' I wanted to do more than just sit down and watch television and complain to (wife Kate Capshaw) and my kids about what's happening to our country". She took over after Phil Graham, who struggled with mental illness, committed suicide in 1963. The two actors strike sparks off each other like flint and steel. We have different tastes, we have different interests - sometimes they dovetail, sometimes they don't. Here he's not aiming to be artistically bold or visually striking but to create a strongly emotional feminist saga. Streep's performance is predictably sensational at capturing a woman full of self-doubt in a society still skeptical of women in positions of authority, and Spielberg employs all of his skills in shots that emphasize her insecurity: peering down at her over Bradlee's shoulder in a way that pins her in a corner, or circling her at a party like she's prey just ready to be eaten. It's a good setting for a story that turns on Kay and her ability to rise to the challenge.

The other likely award victor from The Post could be it's director, some kid named Spielberg.

"One of the things that makes the movie so resonant is where we are now is a reflection of a culture of people who don't speak up". As her commitment develops she conveys every nuance of her evolving and shifting mood from conflicted doubt to epiphany. Whether this depiction is true or not - and the real-life Graham indeed confessed to a lack of self-confidence fostered by the sexism surrounding her - the screenwriters clearly see it as a dramatic necessity to tee up an eventual heroic climax of courageous conviction on Graham's part. Streep has her blossom slowly, realizing inch by gradual inch that she's so much more than the housewife she was raised to be.

Streep has been a prominent voice regarding gender equality in Hollywood following the fallout of disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein, who distributed numerous films of Streep's.

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