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The Post

A movie about the Washington Post's 1971 battle with the Nixon White House over the release of the Pentagon Papers seemed like a well-timed finger in the eye to an administration whose war with the press has given us "fake news" and "alternative facts". As you might expect, The Post has a lot in common with Spotlight - both are essentially workplace dramas, featuring guys who roll up their sleeves and lean on desks pensively while the objectively more narratively rich thing (which in this case is nearly certainly Ellsberg's theft of the documents, which is showcased in a swift but efficient sequence) happens elsewhere.

Hanks throws himself into the role of the gruff, gutsy editor but comes off as Ben Bradlee Lite.

The story concerns the Pentagon Papers, a 47-volume classified internal study of the Vietnam War commissioned by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood). Yet, it "sent boys to die" - this they did largely to avoid the humiliation of the American defeat. -Steven Spielberg signed on to direct The Post, a film about the journalists who exposed a wealth of presidential lies about Vietnam. The likes of Jesse Plemons and Zach Woods show up as lawyers on the payroll of The Post to help guide its staff in their efforts to publish a story around these leaked documents that inadvertently causes a fair amount of tension.

The First Amendment is not the only focus on this excellent, intelligent drama, which is one of the year's best, but spotlights the challenges faced by publisher Katherine Graham, in the patriarchal 1970s, after she inherited the newspaper once owned by her father and then run by her late husband. Ben is aghast but can not do anything about it except carry excerpts from the NYT's stories until three days later, the Court bars the publication from carrying any of the research papers, and at the same time, The Post gets the story and the rest of the research papers. The assignment falls mostly on reporter Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk), who quickly tracks down Ellsberg, who offers him pages the Times hasn't seen yet. He pursues the story with the purest, strongest force known to journalism - that of the scooped trying to scoop their scooper. Graham, the boss, is caught in the middle.

The newsroom back-and-forth, the period details of typewriters and lead type, and Hanks' gleefully gruff turn as the hard-charging Bradlee are cinematic catnip for any newspaper junkie (like me).

The Post
The Post

Even though anyone who knows the history knows what happens, the suspense is palpable.

In June 2017, Winfrey dismissed claims that she would be running for president, but after her emotive and political speech, her long-term partner, Stedman Graham told The Los Angeles Times: "It's up to the people".

As Graham, Streep is spectacular.

By then, the current USA president had established an adversarial relationship with the media. Spielberg is slick enough in his directing choices-and savvy enough to put together a killer cast of supporting players like Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Sarah Paulson and Alison Brie-that it rarely feels like you're getting a lecture about the importance of an adversarial free press. "Show" partner David Cross. "The Post" - like "Spotlight" two years ago - respects the craft, the mission and the thrill of journalism, as well as those dedicated to carrying it out. With just that one dialogue, she cuts his self-importance to size and raises Kay's profile, on whose decision, the entire freedom of the press now rests. 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.

Of course, Bradlee isn't the one making the final call.

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