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The Post Review

Updated: Feb 15, 2018

Katharine Graham is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper 'The Washington Post'. With help from editor Ben Bradlee, Graham races to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents. Together, they must overcome their differences as they risk their careers and very freedom to help bring long-buried truths to light.

“What Are You Going to Do, Mrs. Graham?”

The post is a drama thriller that highlights two very important subjects The Freedom of the Press and Governmental Corruption. I left the cinema wanting to buy a newspaper everyday with a newfound respect for the medium and in a way the film made me feel sad for the decline of print journalism.

In 1966 Vietnam, State Dept. military analyst Daniel Ellsberg accompanies U.S. troops in combat, documenting the progress of U.S. military activities in the region for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. On the return flight home, McNamara expresses to Ellsberg and President Lyndon Johnson his view that the war in Vietnam is hopeless, yet upon landing, McNamara expresses his confidence in the war effort. Ellsberg overhears this and becomes disillusioned. Years later, now working for a civilian military contractor, at the RAND Corporation, Ellsberg surreptitiously photocopies classified reports documenting the progress of the ongoing Vietnam War, dating back to the Truman administration. He then leaks these documents to reporters at The New York Times. After a supreme court injunction is taken against The New York Times, Daniel Ellsberg has no other choice but to go to the Washington Post in hopes that they will print the rest of the documents.

Enter Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep, Oscar nominated for the role), the owner of the washington post, whose company is currently about to go public on the stock market. The leaked vietnam papers puts Mrs. Graham in a tricky situation and Meryl Streep captures the role of a washington elite who knows her own mind but is constantly doubted by the men surrounding her, expect, that is her editor in chief Ben Bradlee, played by Tom Hanks who gives a hell of a performance as the Tenacious editor. Graham’s dilema is either to hold back the publication of the documents to appeased the White house and the banks but tarish the posts journalistic reputation, or Publish the documents and fear the wrath of the white house and the backing out of the investments by the banks.

The two performances that stand out are obviously that of Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. Although Streep’s character is not from a generation of women that worked and ran businesses, Graham manages to come to terms with the fact that her role has elevated her to a position of power. Overall this film did what it said on the tin, it didn’t stand up to other recent historical dramas such as Darkest Hour in terms of acting, so it’ll be interesting to see the verdict on Oscars night…

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Joe Connor reviewed this film at Vue Cinema, Manchester Printworks.

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review by Joe Connor

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