By Mary Cox
“The Post” was my favorite movie of 2017; it moves like a freight train across the screen. Even though I knew what happened in real life, the film kept me on the edge of my chair, amazed at the threats that the newspapers, and the people that worked at them , had to endure. It is based on true events that occurred in 1971: The Pentagon papers scandal. I remembered the basic story, but I didn’t know any of the details that “The Post” filled in.
While working at the Pentagon, Daniel Ellsberg discovered a cover-up concerning the war in Viet Nam that spanned four U.S. Presidents. After the New York Times is prohibited from publishing the paper, the Washington Post receives the papers and Katherine Graham, the first female newspaper publisher and Ben Bradlee, her editor, have to decide whether to publish the papers and the repercussions of doing so.
This film is crammed full of Academy Award winners. Three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep plays Katherine Graham. Two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks is Ben Bradlee. Three-time Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg directed and the script was co-written by Academy Award winner Josh Singer.
Needless to say with Streep and Hanks, the acting was flawless. I was disappointed that “The Post” didn’t do better at the Golden Globes. Although I thought “Three billboards outside of Ebbing, MO” was a good film, I think “The Post” was better and the acting was also better in “The Post.”
Streep is like a chameleon, she takes on the persona of every character she plays; Streep disappeared and Katherine Graham took her place. Streep is amazing and deserves all the accolades she has received over the years.
I couldn’t choose a better mirror image for Streep’s character than Tom Hanks. He played Ben Bradlee to perfection. “The Post” is the first time Hanks and Streep have worked together. I hope it won’t be their last.
Hanks and Streep are supported by an outstanding cast. Bruce Greenwood portrays Robert McNamara, who had been Secretary of Defense under Kennedy and Johnson, and was a friend and advisor to Katherine Graham. He really looked like McNamara. Bradley Whitford, who was a star of the television show the “West Wing” plays Arthur Parsons, a fictional character who advises Graham. Sarah Paulson plays Ben Bradlee’s wife Tony. Matthew Rhys portrays Daniel Ellsberg, the man who stole the Pentagon Papers.
Through Rhys you feel the nervousness and fear Ellsberg must have felt while stealing the papers. I was rooting for him to get out of the Pentagon without getting caught and yet I knew he got out without getting caught.
Steven Spielberg took the script by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, and directed a movie that will hold up over time. Spielberg and Hanks have collaborated on five films, but this is the first time he has worked with Streep on a major film.
“The Post” opens this weekend at AMC Showplace Edwardsville and Granite City Cinema. Do not miss this film. It is worth the price of admission and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it does better at the Academy Awards.