When I entered the theatre to see the premiere showing of The Post, it was almost filled to capacity. I had to sit closer to the screen than I like, but I knew that I was in for a real treat. With Steven Spielberg at the helm and Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as the lead actors, I knew that this was an unbeatable combination; yet I was unsure of the exact story line.
This movie takes place in 1971, at the height of the Vietnam War. Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) has to decide whether to publish parts of the Pentagon Papers which revealed classified information about past presidential involvement. Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) is the executive editor and they have to see if they want to face a possible legal battle with the courts. Their competitor, The New York Times, has already faced a court injunction for a similar story and The Post has to carefully weigh its options.
Katharine Graham has been left in charge of the paper after her husband’s demise and many on the Board are afraid that they could possibly face jail time. So much is at stake for all of the staff workers along with their families and The Post’s investors. What will she decide to do?
The actual production of the news story has started. Writers have written copies on antiquated typewriters; copy editors have edited the text for errors; blueprints have been drawn and the intricate task of setting type by the lithographers has taken place.
But then, Mrs. Graham gets a knock on the door after they discover that one of their sources may have also colluded with The New York Times. Many are sorely afraid of the consequences and they try to change her mind and halt the publication of the story. Yet, with a short span of hesitation, she reminds them that she is the boss and says it is a go.
The huge newspaper presses are fired up and they roll. A few key players grab a savored copy while it is hot off of the press with the smell of fresh ink. Everybody involved had to work to the beat of a ticking clock to meet that deadline.
Then workers are seen bundling the papers, tying them in stacks and loading them onto trucks which will put them into newspaper boxes. Young paperboys will be getting up in the wee hours of the morning to pitch those copies onto the lawns of subscribers.
The Washington Post shared what they had discovered, won in the courts and went on to become a respected and well-known paper that still exists today. It was a nostalgic look at a marked time in our history that led to even greater ground-breaking reporting! This is a must-see movie for the baby boomers and those coming behind who want to witness journalism at its best!
Lynn M. January 6, 2018