The Post Has Serious Theme, but Is 'Highly Entertaining'
Movie chronicles publication of the Pentagon Papers
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2017 10:53 AM CST

(Newser) – Steven Spielberg signed on to The Post in March. Just nine months later, the film chronicling the Washington Post's publishing of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 is hitting theaters at what some critics argue is the perfect time. It has a solid 85% "fresh" rating from critics at Rotten Tomatoes, vs. 69% from audiences. Samples:

  • "The Post is the rare Hollywood movie made not to fulfill marketing imperatives but because the filmmakers felt the subject matter had real and immediate relevance to the crisis both society and print journalism find themselves in right now," writes Kenneth Turan at the Los Angeles Times. "It's a risky venture that succeeds across the board," he adds, applauding Meryl Streep for the "remarkable" way she conveys the essence of Post owner Katharine Graham.
  • Stephanie Zacharek says Streep is "terrific" in "a superhero movie for real grownups." It's "a reflection of all we stand to lose if news reporting and the outlets that support it should vanish, especially in the face of a President who strives daily to crush it," yet "the movie is so fleet and entertaining that you never feel you're being lectured to." At Time, Zacharek also commends visuals fitting of the 1970s.

  • Owen Gleiberman at Variety thinks the visuals supply only "some fetishistic museum-piece re-creation of the '70s." And though the film's "warning" about restrictions on the press "has rarely needed to be heard as much as it does today," he finds it "declares more than it reverberates." Still, The Post is a "potently watchable" and "highly entertaining" movie that benefits from the "contentious camaraderie" of Graham and editor Ben Bradlee, played by Tom Hanks.
  • Watching Streep and Hanks interact is a "joy," but The Post is "meat and potatoes Spielberg in the best possible way," writes Lindsey Bahr at the AP. The director "infuses every scene with tension and life" so he's "able to make even a copy machine seem thrilling," she writes. Bahr also gives kudos to screenwriters Liz Hannah and Josh Singer for an "always interesting" script that "delves into fascinating topics including the casual sexism of the time."

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