* * * * * (Don)
* * * * ½ (Joyce)
(Politics, the press, and history)
"The Post" is one of those rare movies that includes a bit of everything I like in a movie. There's politics. There's the press. There's history. And there's much more.
Joyce is still searching for her perfect five-star movie, admitting that "The Post" comes close, thanks to perfect performances by Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham.
Based on the true story of the scandalous Pentagon Papers, "The Post" does what every good movie should do: It presents the facts from all angles, let's you in behind the scenes, raises key issues, and shows you protagonists and antagonists fighting for what they believe is right.
Katharine Graham inherited the Washington Post when her husband committed suicide in 1971, hiring Ben Bradlee as executive editor. Graham was an insecure, introverted woman who was often clumsy in her words and physical movements. Watching her rise to incredible challenges at a time when even stronger women were at a disadvantage in a man's world and a man's profession is one satisfying experience to behold.
She and the rough, gruff Bradlee make for an odd couple, but together they triumph in fighting the establishment. You may recall that turbulent time in history when President Nixon brought a court injunction against the New York Times for leaking parts of the voluminous secret government report on America's failures in the Vietnam War. Graham was in a battle of her own, trying to convince her board to go public at the same time that Bradlee wanted to pick up the fight and publish the Pentagon Papers.
The movie pays special attention to the mood of the 1070s, making for a perfect period piece filled with subtleties about prejudices and feminism. The entire cast fits the characters to a tee, especially Bruce Greenwood as Robert McNamara.
While you know the outcome, the devil is in the details, especially the behind the scenes look at just how a newspaper was put together in time for its daily midnight production.
Rated PG-13 for some profanity. This movie should be seen by any student interested in going into politics or the media.