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The Post

The Post

A veritable army of films that have something to say has provided much to comfort and challenge us these past months. Stretching the genres of horror, romance and war among others, there’s been an artistic option for almost every socially concerned eye. And while maybe there are more adventurous and creative choices among those, and I do admit he’s speaking to issues that I, personally, relate to, I also believe Spielberg’s The Post is the movie of the year.

It is shocking how the story of the Pentagon Papers, back in 1971, parallels situations we are facing right this very minute. Liz Hannah and Josh Singer’s script delineates the issues as both The Washington Post and New York Times try to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets. Questions such as “is this all true”, “will Nixon shut us down”, and “what is freedom of the press” carry us along, in a film that is both provocative and digestible. Cannily, with the notable exception of two silent moments that took my breath away, Spielberg has chosen to step back, let the story be the star and not show off with gimmicks or, for the most part, preachy insistence.

But this is not just a movie about the freedom of the press. It is also, and very much so, a movie about women and where we were back at a particularly important moment in time for the feminist movement. Meryl Streep’s publisher, Kay Graham, feels almost instinctual, a socialite inadvertently thrust into a hot seat, circumstances forcing her to take on not just her family’s legacy, but also some men who wish she’d just leave it all to them. Including one of her most trusted advisors and, oh yes, the President of the United States.

A great team of players surrounds this slyly magnificent performance. Kudos to Tom Hanks (Ben Bradlee), Carrie Coon, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk and the rest of this irresistible ensemble who, along with Steven Spielberg and company, deliver an entertainment that couldn’t be more effectively to the point.

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