The Post (12A)

The Post is a 70s-set tale of free speech, integrity and bravery.

Following the untimely death of her husband Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) became the first female publisher of an American newspaper named The Washington Post.

With the help of her editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and lawyer Fritz Beebe (Tracy Letts) Katherine is attempting to keep the family-run business afloat, which sadly means making the company private.

But an unexpected scoop threatens to jeopardise not only the sale, but the future of the paper and free speech as we know it.

A cover-up spanning the last four U.S. Presidents is released by a rival paper, The New York Times. Unbeknown to Katherine at first, Ben races to catch up with The New York Times to expose the massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents.

The country’s first female newspaper publisher enters an unprecedented battle between the press and the government. The friendly connections Katherine had with the Nixon family and beyond prior to “going to the mattresses” are burnt forever more.

Together Katherine and Ben must overcome their differences as they risk their careers and freedom to expose one of the biggest coverups of all time.

The premise Steven Spielberg’s The Post is an interesting one. It’s the fight for free press, something that is still an issue across the globe today. However, it’s also a tale of a woman taking on her doubters and having the bravery to risk it all for the better of others.

The Post uses real recordings of Richard Nixon which go to show how much the Post and Times coverage got under his skin and the depths he was willing to go to to silence them once and for all.

Thanks to the subject matter, current political climate and stellar star cast, The Post gained glowing reviews prior to its general release. However, for me the story ended the moment Katharine Graham gave the order to print the story.  Everything after that was irrelevant including the not-so subtle nod to the Watergate scandal at the end which felt like an afterthought.

I found it hard to identify with Katherine’s character. She was so vapid, so unsure for so long, that by the time her moment of strength came, I was disinterested. The performance from Meryl is a strong one, but certainly not one of her best.

It’s also disappointing that Tom Hanks never gets the rousing speech he deserves as he rallies his troops to take on the U.S. government.

By Ruth Walker

★★★☆☆

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