You can see the through-line from "The Post" to the Watergate scandal and "All the President's Men" three years later. "I want to thank you for making them and I want to thank you for including me in everything".
You are relieved that Tom Hanks has finally gotten a good role.
Steven Spielberg has made movies about dinosaurs and sharks and aliens and adventurin' archeologists and war horses and crime-predicting psychics and big friendly giants. While certain scenes generate fleeting sparks (tense talks between Graham and personal friend Robert McNamara, well played by Bruce Greenwood), the filmmakers' solution tends to be the characters speechifying, posing and repeatedly declaiming the stakes ("We could all go to prison").
Let me say up front: I liked "The Post".
It's 1971, and Graham, who becomes the paper's first female publisher after her husband dies, has to decide whether to print the Pentagon Papers, secret documents that not only trace the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War, but also show a pattern of deceit from several administrations over 30 years. They are documents that prove the United States government has known for years that the war in Vietnam is not winnable and covered that fact up through four presidencies, all the while sending more young men into battle, because losing wars isn't something the U.S. does.
While, the Washington Post at the time is clearly not at par with The New York Times, which is a bigger, more sought after publication, it doesn't stop the duo from taking up the challenge of being the best in the business.
While there is an interesting tick tock of will-they-won't-they publish the papers, at the heart of the story is Graham, an obviously smart and capable woman who is full of doubt, and is doubted by almost everyone around her.
Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) can't stand the idea of being beat on a story. The Post is a really good movie though and I for one was happy to see a seminal moment in American history put in the hands of such a skilled group of performers and that every member of that group played their role, whether on camera or off, to perfection. The Post's board of directors does not want to take on the government because they are afraid of losing money.
Graham, then 54, was never prepared to run the newspaper.
In 1984, Graham wrote Marcil a letter with word that the Washington Post had acquired half ownership of Cablecom, the cable television service. Perhaps the socialite Graham was more comfortable in a ballroom than a boardroom, but her portrayal as a strong woman waiting to emerge from a dithering doyenne feels reductive. Putting the good of the country before your own financial interest sounds corny, but it shouldn't.
Churches should see themselves in this movie. The church, like the board of the Post, is tempted to focus on survival.
The church has to tell the truth, be a voice for peace, and make it clear that our culture's values are upside down.
The movie was filmed while Spielberg was waiting for the special effects to be completed on another one of his new movies, "Ready Player One", based on the novel by Austin's Ernie Cline. Americans have the Constitution. You can't help but be moved when seeing those rows of newspapers coming off the presses, loaded onto delivery trucks and thrown in stacks out to the newsstands, bringing the truth to the public. When the church is fearless, the church attracts those who want to live with conviction. She holds the phone and repeats to her colleagues the decision of Justice Black, that America's founders affirmed freedom of the press "to serve the governed, not the governors".
Christ's church is to serve the world, not the church.