It is as simple as that.
Streep plays Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham and Hanks is executive editor Ben Bradlee. At that time The Post was a local newspaper that was given to her husband to run by Graham's father. With just that one dialogue, she cuts his self-importance to size and raises Kay's profile, on whose decision, the entire freedom of the press now rests. That's what Tom Hanks' Ben Bradlee says midway through "The Post" when he's hot on the trail of a scoop and the pieces start coming together. Bradlee is a no-nonsense journalist. Then the Times comes out with its first story about the damning documents. He doesn't believe in anything standing between the public and the truth. It would be nice if Trump's staffers, when they watch the movie, take the story's lessons to heart.
But The New York Times is one up on the Post when a few explosive classified documents on the U.S. government's involvement with the Vietnam War make it to their front pages. McNamara ordered an in depth study of the nation's strategy in Vietnam that concluded no matter what is done the USA will fail.
A federal court slaps the New York Times with an injunction to stop publishing the papers. Inserted as a military strategist under the Pentagon's Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs John McNaughton, he's observing the war first hand. It's 1971, and the drama of the day concerns the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret history of the United States' disastrous involvement in Vietnam and the lies the government told the American people along the way.
The two, who received a Golden Globes nomination for the script, were on the set as Spielberg began filming May 30.
In the end, Graham affirms both the role of the newspaper - for "outstanding news collection and reporting" and "dedication to the welfare of the nation and to the principles of the free press" - and herself. The gratitude and pride they bathe upon Graham, and the reciprocal feeling reflected back at them by Streep, is the sort of moment that puts a lump in the toughest throat.
Besides being publisher of the influential newspaper, Graham was well connected with leading political figures, and luminaries regularly attended dinner parties at her Georgetown home. "She looked at me and said, 'I play tennis with Michael Deaver, ' " a senior White House official.
Despite the events in the film taking place almost five decades ago, it would be irrelevant to go through a full discussion around it without mentioning its relevance and more so its poignancy in relation to the present state of the world and the leaders that are in power who utilise their authority for personal gain and favourable poll numbers rather than in the interest of world peace. Maybe you've heard of him?
We've seen a lot of iterations of Steven Spielberg, from Sci-Fi Spielberg (Minority Report, War of the Worlds) to Prestige Spielberg (Schindler's List, Lincoln) to Middlebrow Schmaltz Spielberg (The Terminal, War Horse). Still, the power of this tale and the timing of its release makes The Post necessary viewing. Even if you know the story and its beats, "The Post" is still enthralling, inspiring entertainment.
Now it's your turn People's Choice fans, which of Hanks and Streep's movies are your favorite?
Tom Hanks (as Ben Bradlee): "If we don't hold them accountable, who will?"
I give The Post 5 out of 5 overpriced cups of lemonade without vodka.
The movie is set in the 1970s, and kicks off with the release of the Pentagon Papers.
But it's so rare to see real events portrayed in such an entertaining manner that it sometimes feels as if Spielberg (even better with "Bridge of Spies" and "Lincoln") is the only one even attempting to do so.
Demetri Ravanos is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association and has reviewed movies for Raleigh and Company, Military1.com and The Alan Kabel Radio Network.