Former Post publisher, subject of new movie, 'knew Fargo'

The Post poster

Steven Spielberg surely did his part with this fantastic movie. It's probably not hard to make such things exciting. He made this movie, including pre- and post-production in only nine months, which is quite remarkable for a film of this size. Lawyers are consulted, and mostly just frown a lot in reply. Time's up, indeed. For one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood, she delivers a stellar performance, regal yet grounded, steely yet vulnerable. And it is all completely riveting. This to me is a patriotic movie.

The Post crackles with life and energy.

A half-century later, truth is under siege.

Streep concluded her remarks by quoting her character, Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, who strides forward at a crucial moment in the male-dominated 1970s newspaper industry to publish the Pentagon Papers in "The Post".

Streep, who came wearing a sweater embroidered with the words "Time's Up" (she gifted DeGeneres and Hanks with their own), summed up The Post-her first time acting opposite Hanks-concisely: "Our film is about standing up, and the cost of it, and the importance of it".

What they are on fire over together is what turned out to be a signal event in the history of journalism.

That would be Richard Nixon, who sicced all the president's men on any newspaper daring to publish a government-damning tome titled "U.S. -Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967." or, as it's become better known, "The Pentagon Papers".

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"They say you always forget your first", Kimmel joked. If the Post also goes to press, they could also face legal action - even prison time for Bradlee. Does that injunction apply to the Post as well? The New York Times on Tuesday canceled a "TimesTalk" conversation with the filmmaker and his brother and co-star, Dave Franco, after actress Violet Paley and filmmaker Sarah Tither-Kaplan on Twitter accused Franco of earlier instances of sexual misconduct.

Oscar victor Meryl Streep is convinced pal Oprah Winfrey is seriously considering a presidential run in 2020.

Of course, should the paper lose the court fight, it's not just Graham who would suffer: Bradlee is probably out of a job, as are several other editors and perhaps even several reporters. "I think everything's going to change".

Graham has reason to be cautious: She's in the middle of negotiations to take the family newspaper public, and she's reluctant to get on the wrong side of the White House.

The subtext of sharp women - such as Streep's Graham and Carrie Coon as Post editorial page editor Meg Greenfield - having to navigate rooms full of condescending men is deliciously on point at this moment. (It's pretty astonishing that her battle against entrenched misogyny is only the second most important thing happening in The Post.) Would this double whammy simply be too much for investors to swallow?

Overall, "The Post" is a smart, complex, non-superhero film with a super-hero style tag that is astutely told on a big canvas.

To be sure, the nuts-and-bolts details (reporters smoking in the newsroom, the typewriters and landline phones, the striped paper coffee cups, the cylinders of pneumatic tubes used to propel copy to the printers) are historically precise, but we also get that unique Spielbergian light, that gorgeous and magical and dazzling light, to remind us something special is going on here. The Post is an absolutely essential reminder that the press is rightly an adversary to the powerful, one that is needed now at least as much as it was in 1971.

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