An Honest Review of The Post: Is It Worth the Watch?

As we live through a time of distrust in the news media and the freedom of the press is continuously questioned, the film The Post could not have come at a more appropriate time. Directed by legend Steven Spielberg, The Post follows the crack news team of The Washington Post in 1971 as they grapple with the possibilities of both success and consequences if they publish the newly leaked Pentagon Papers.

The film frames itself around CEO and Editor in Chief Katherine Graham, played by the indomitable Meryl Streep, as she struggles with keeping her financially unstable newspaper alive, living up to the legacy of her father and husband who ran the newspaper before her, and deciding if her and her team are going to take on the United States government and publish the many pages of the leaked Pentagon Papers.

For context, the Pentagon Papers were documents that had been kept secret from the American public for over thirty years, which documented the United States’ involvement in Vietnam. Essentially, they revealed the government knew the U.S. was going to lose the war long before it ended but continued to send troops overseas.

Courtesy: USA Today

This film—nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award—is a master class in directing and acting. Streep plays Katherine Graham so well that while you’re watching it, you find yourself forgetting you’re watching Meryl Streep. Graham’s progression from questioning her ability to make choices for the company to full on telling off a board member who doesn’t support her—yes, Katherine, fight the patriarchy—is a joy to watch and I think many women will feel empowered after watching her performance.

Co-star Tom Hanks also pulls off a wonderful performance as the Executive Editor Ben Bradlee. From the beginning, Ben is in Katherine’s corner and does not care that she is a woman in a high-powered position. Hanks is as lovable as ever as the slightly cranky, very smart and news-hungry Bradlee. When the film first started, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this seemingly brash gentleman who seemed to like to pick arguments for fun, but as the movie progressed I found myself falling in love with him and wanted nothing more than for him and Katherine to succeed.

Courtesy: MovieWeb

The beautiful performances round out this very topical story: the U.S. government tried to stop The Washington Post—along with The New York Post—from publishing any of the Pentagon Papers and the case ultimately went to the Supreme Court, where it was established that as long as the newspapers did not publish anything that would actively threaten the United States military—like publishing where certain Navy ships were, for example—it was the press's job to publish news such as this, as they are writing for the governed and not the governors. We seem to be going through a similar cycle in today’s world as the government and press battle with each other, so this movie could not have come at a more perfect time (in fact, Spielberg decided to rush the production of this film so it could specifically come out now). With its uplifting tone and its overall message of feminism and freedom of speech and press, The Post is a fun—albeit slightly long—movie that will most likely storm AP American History classes around the country.

Overall Rating: A-