Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Drama co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, inspired by true events, The Post (2017) centers on the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post‘s Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents. The two must overcome their differences as they risk their careers, and their very freedom, to help bring long-buried truths to light in publishing the Pentagon Papers.
Our Favorite Quote:
Ben Bradlee: So, can I ask you a hypothetical question?
Kay Graham: Oh, dear. I don’t like hypothetical questions.
Ben Bradlee: Well, I don’t think you’re going to like the real one either.
Kay Graham: Do you have the papers?
Ben Bradlee: Not yet.
Ben Bradlee: The way they lied, those days have to be over.
Man on Phone: This is a devastating security breach that was leaked out of the Pentagon. The most highly classified documents of the war.
Ben Bradlee: The Time sent seven thousand pages detailing how the White House has been lying about the Vietnam War for thirty years.
Fritz Beebe: Kay, people are concerned about having a woman in charge of the paper. That’s she doesn’t have the resolve to make the tough choices.
Kay Graham: Thank you, Arthur, for your frankness.
Ben Bradlee: Let’s do our job. Find those pages!
Washington Post Attorney: [to Ben] We’re talking about exposing years of government secrets.
Michael: Is that legal?
Ben Bradlee: What is it you think we do here for a living, kid?
Ben Bagdikian: Ben, I might have something.
Air Stewardess: [referring to the tied up box] It must be precious cargo.
Ben Bagdikian: It’s just government secrets.
New Reporter: The New York Times was barred from publishing anymore classified documents dealing with the Vietnam War.
Washington Post Attorney: [to Ben and Kay] If you publish we’ll be at the Supreme Court next week.
Kay Graham: Meaning?
Ben Bradlee: Well we could all go to prison.
Tony Bradlee: [to Ben] To make this decision, to risk her fortune, and the company that’s been her entire life, well I think that’s brave.
Washington Post Attorney: If the government wins, The Washington Post will cease to exist.
Ben Bradlee: If we don’t hold them accountable, who will?
Kay Graham: We can’t hold them accountable if we don’t have a newspaper.
Robert McNamara: Nixon will muster the full power of the presidency, and if there’s a way to destroy you, by God he’ll find it!
Kay Graham: I’m asking your advice, Bob, not your permission.
Fritz Beebe: [referring to Kay] She can’t do this. The legacy of the company is at stake.
Ben Bradlee: What will happen if we don’t publish? We will lose! The country will lose!
Ben Bradlee: What are you going to do, Mrs. Graham?
Meg Greenfield: “The founding fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.”
Kay Graham: You know what my husband said about the news? He called it the first rough draft of history.
Gerald Wilgus (Frankfort, MI) says
The Post may be summarized very simply: wealthy old lady dithers about doing the right thing while the real hero gets five minutes of screen time. Yes, that’s right; and who better than Meryl Streep is a master of fussy dithering on screen. Otherwise, the ensemble cast has some very fine acting wasted on what amounted to a side show during the Vietnam War. Not represented was the profound service that Daniel Ellsberg provided our nation with his release of the historically significant “Pentagon Papers” kept from the American people merely because it exposed the duplicity of politicians and the military.
Another Spielberg feel-good offering, this time aimed at rich liberal elites; a congratulatory script meant to chill us that perhaps a wealthy newspaper owner and her managers may have had to, heaven forbid, give up a lavish lifestyle because of printing what others, taking life-changing risks, had the moral audacity to accomplish.
Linda L K (St. Paul, MN) says
I saw The Post at an AARP screening with a friend. After the movie there was a movie critic then asking how everyone liked it. While listening to all the “Oh, we love Meryl” and “oh, we hate republican government” we actually left. I left because it was one of those situations where the current political climate and the great divide in the US was motivating opinion rather than real, critical thinking (group think – lemmings). There didn’t appear to be room for a critical review of the acting and the script of the movie. So rather scream out, “Are you serious” the movie was a 2 (of 5) at best.
What I didn’t like in “The Post”, was the contrived and vastly over done acting. Meryl Streep uses her “typical” and oft used, East Coast, upper class, nasal, somewhat English tonality that is soooooo artificial and didn’t fit the role she was playing. This was not Meryl trying to get us to believe she was actually a character other than herself, this was Meryl playing Meryl as the character. She just wasn’t believable. She has lost that ability somewhere along the way. As an actress, there are others that are far better.
Unfortunately Tom Hanks fell into this trap too, in this movie. He has also adopted a “typical” tone of voice that diminishes his skill.
The portrayal of Pres. Nixon was too “hotten tot”. Arthur Ballet the theatre professor at that U of MN named this for the action that takes place out of the viewers eye. I guess it was acceptable considering they probably wanted to keep the movie short.
And the scene where the newspaper staff opened the box of stolen secret papers; UGH – it was like a scene from a children’s movie. So very over done, unnatural and insulting to our intelligence. I think we would’ve understood the excitement and significance of the papers without the excessively pretentious acting.
What did I like: I really liked the display of the newspaper business and the risks the journalists took to bring real news to light. I especially liked seeing how newspapers were printed.
I was in college when all this took place, I lived through the era – so I really wish they had treated the topic with more seriousness, rather than the “play acting” tone the movie used. They missed a real opportunity to teach younger folks about that time in history, instead they fed the political divide. This wasn’t a movie for grownups and it doesn’t lend any credence to real journalism. I left the movie feeling like I had food poisoning from my favorite restaurant.
Phil (Bethesda, Maryland) says
Interesting movie until I fell asleep. I give it four stars because Matthew Rhys is always a treat to watch, he was the only character I felt empathy for and cared to watch. Acting-good, subject matter-fascinating and relevant to today but then I fell asleep during the last ten minutes