Paw Print Reviews The Post

Kendall Gill, Writer

Set within the tense political climate of 1971, Steven Spielberg’s 2018 drama The Post closely follows the inner workings and politics of journalists who were on the forefront of the progressive media. The film visits The Washington Post’s controversial decision to publish certain excerpts of the infamous Pentagon Papers, an immense classified report that detailed America’s involvement in Vietnam from World War II to 1968 and the woman who pushed to save the paper. Under the creation of a phenomenal director the film is transformed from a well worn historical documentary to a thrilling story about the freedom of the press and the war on the constitutional right to freedom of the press.

Throughout the film, The Pentagon Papers, officially titled “Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force”, are a collection of decisions and secrets from the Vietnam era that give the film its sense of intrigue. The antagonism between the federal government and the mass media makes the story all the more relevant given the current political climate of the acting President of the United States combating the media.

An Oakdale Junior, Sidney Causey, saw the movie in its opening weekend. When asked about her thoughts on the film she described it as “relevant” and stated, “It’s strange to see how much history is repeating itself. I think of this era as so far from 2018 but clearly there are more things in common than I used to believe like this battle with the media and the way it’s been publicized.”

A Senior at Oakdale, Becca Seligson, who had seen the film with Causey, reflected many of the same sentiments regarding The Post. Her main take away from the film was not only the connections to the preset regarding the media but also with the current feminist movement of women being represented in typically “male fields”. She explained, “Throughout the entire movie Meryl Streep’s character has so much to say and yet she keeps getting pushed aside by all the men working with her. It’s so nice to see that even so long ago there were women like her who made such big changes.”.

Even then, a film about photocopies is not a typical shoe in for national popularity and award nominations. To give credit where credit is due, a large amount of draw towards the film was likely brought on by the performances of Hollywood icons Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. Hanks, who plays The Post’s hard-charging editor, Ben Bradlee, gives a powerful performance along Streep who plays his boss, Katharine Graham, the paper’s famous publisher.

Like a majority of films based on historical events, The Post pushes the real story and bends it for dramatic effect and entertainment value. The filmmakers stayed true to real life and while it’s not surprising that the movie omits seemingly crucial aspects of the story, it still gives a powerful and entertaining take on a major event in U.S history that deserved to be recognized.