By Tara Woods
Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” creates a haunting question: are we repeating history?
Many know the story of the Pentagon Papers, otherwise known as the study that the American government did that proved the Vietnam war was a lost cause from the beginning. This movie follows the story of two major newspapers during the summer of 1971, who got their hands on that study, and were left wondering what to do next.
Meryl Streep plays the socialite and feminist conqueror, Katherine (Kat) Graham, who is the publisher of The Washington Post, a newspaper we all know these days. The story takes us to the week that the Washington Post was going public, trying to climb their way out of being a small local paper and into the big leagues.
On her team is Ben Bradlee, played by Tom Hanks, who is the ambitious, bite-bigger-than-his-bark, executive editor of the paper. Bradlee and his team of journalists at the paper find themselves reading The New York Times after they broke the story of how the government has been lying to the American people, and even Congress, about the Vietnam War. Angered by not having the scoop themselves,
“Aren’t you sick of reading the news and not reporting it?” Bradlee asked his journalists. He then desperately tries to find a way to get his hands on those documents – and succeeds.
All the while, The New York Times receives an injunction to stop publishing until further notice- signed the seemingly unhinged Nixon White House. The Washington Post then has to decide whether to risk it all for the people of the United States, or keep their pens down and shut up.
The film gives is particularly relevant today as the Trump administration has a similar disdain for the media and has banned the The New York Times and several other new organizations from the daily briefing at the White House. The parallels with today’s world do not end there. With the strategic maneuvering of the patriarchy by Graham, who after inheriting after the death of her husband (The newspaper business was originally given to her husband by her father.)is a woman in a man’s world. Every meeting, every event, she seems to be the only woman in the room. Later on, when Graham is walking outside the courthouse we see all women of every creed looking to her in solidarity and awe. Sound like ‘#MeToo’?
The movie is entertaining, informative and shows us that the fight for free press is a never-ending battle. I could definitely see this getting a couple of Oscar nods, as it hits every mark of what people and critics love to see.
The cast is filled with well-known stars like Bob Odenkirk, Matthew Rhys, Jesse Plemons, Zach Woods, Carrie Coon, Tracy Letts, David Cross, Sarah Paulson, Bruce Greenwood, Bradley Whitford, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Alison Brie who all have roles next to Streep and Hanks.
“The Post” breathes fresh life into a rebellion, showing everyone how important it is to stand up for what’s right, even when you could lose everything.