It’s the 1970s, America is weary of the Vietnam War and its cost in terms of lives and dollars. Richard Nixon, as had his predecessors, wages the war intent on a “peace with honor” outcome. Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) a military analyst, discovers a top-secret report indicating that presidents as far back as Truman know that a war with the Vietnamese was unwinnable. Yet, the chief executives continue to commit young men and women to a cause in which this country could not prevail. Ellsberg feels that the report—later known as the Pentagon Papers—must be released. So, he gives it to The New York Times, which publishes the lengthy document. The Nixon administration goes to court to prohibit continued printing, claiming it jeopardizes national security. A U.S. District Court issues an injunction against the Times. So, Ellsberg turns to The Washington Post. Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep), the Post’s publisher and principal owner, and her editor, Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), must decide if they will move forward and publish the papers. They do.
Conflict is the key to any successful story. Very simply, what are the protagonists trying to do and what keeps them from doing it? This film is loaded with conflicts: The press against the government, The New York Times rivalry with The Washington Post, Graham’s cautious demeanor versus Bradlee’s aggressive journalism. Then there’s the federal judiciary against the president.
This film is educational, entertaining and thrilling, enriched by acting heavyweights, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. And it gets a See It! Rating.
However, “The Post” gets a C− for cast diversity. At the time these events occurred, Washington, D.C. was 70 percent Black. Although that number might not have been reflected in the highest levels of corporate journalism and politics, it should have been reflected in the street scenes and those with blue collar employees.
It’s rated PG-13 for language and themes and is almost two hours in length. And “The Post” is a See It!