'The Post' Screenwriters on Film's Timeliness in the Trump Era

  • 'The Post' Screenwriters on Film's Timeliness in the Trump Era

'The Post' Screenwriters on Film's Timeliness in the Trump Era

The movie pits journalists against the government.

The Post takes up all the current crises head on, as to what comprises national security, the dangers of conflating the government with the nation, the role of the press and, even the tightrope journalists walk in their friendships with powers-that-be.

It's the summer of 1971, and the Nixon administration is angry at the Post over coverage of the White House wedding of Richard Nixon's daughter Tricia.

Just days after Sunday's Golden Globes, which saw supporters of the Time's Up movement wearing all-black dress code, Meryl joined actors and filmmakers including her The Post co-star Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, and Get Out director Jordan Peele at the ceremony held at the Cipriani 42nd Street in NY on Tuesday evening. Two-time Academy Award victor Tom Hanks is Ben Bradlee.

Like his previous two dramas, "The Post" is Spielberg delightfully jumping back in the past, centering the movie on the publishing of the Pentagon Papers, which exposed a cover-up of US government meddling in foreign affairs, including Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.

Early on in the film, there is a scene where Graham hosts a dinner party, which includes former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood) - a close friend and the man who had ordered the writing of the Pentagon Papers. When the Times prints the first portions of the Pentagon Papers, his journalistic Spidey-senses start tingling.

Bradlee fumes and orders his staff to play catch-up. This opinion was delivered by Chief Justice Black in 1971 when the Nixon administration tried to stop the New York Times and The Washington Post from publishing a classified report called the Pentagon Papers about American involvement in Southeast Asia. That reluctant-hero angle is an aspect Spielberg and his writers Liz Hannah and Josh Singer milk for all it's worth in telling how The Post picked up the fight after The Times was enjoined from publishing any more of the documents. In a recent screening held for the media in Mumbai, the film left everyone enthralled, while it was nominated in six different categories for the recent Golden Globe Awards, including best picture, best director, best actor and best actress, with Hanks and Streep's performances widely appreciated.

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. It was also particularly dicey because Graham was about to take the company public with a stock offering.

Thus does "The Post" move from a crackling newsroom yarn to a showcase for Streep's now-expected brilliance.

Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks prove that they are each other's biggest fans on an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Meryl Streep (sure to score another Oscar nomination) is Kay Graham, president and publisher of the Post, but as Streep so sublimely conveys, Mrs. Those men are represented by a Who's Who of character actors, including Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Michael Stuhlbarg and David Cross. But Spielberg's cinematic decision is the right one thanks to the unique circumstances of the Post, which was often regarded at the time as a local family newspaper. By this time The New York Times had run some stories, but they'd been silenced by a court injunction. It's vital that the rest of America learns them, and quickly.