Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” Is An Enthralling Journalistic Thriller

Riveting suspense builds a story for today


Photo by GoldDerby/Universal Pictures

Main poster for Steven Spielberg's "The Post," featuring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.

Natalie Pearson, Staff Reporter

“The Post” is a masterful docudrama, taking place in 1971 and telling the story of The Washington Post’s printing of the Pentagon Papers, classified documents detailing the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. The premise, I’ll admit, sounded boring, as I’m normally not one for dramas, but I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

At its core, “The Post” is not a story about printing some papers. It’s an ode to journalism and the freedom of the press, and is as timely as ever in this era of “Fake News” that we live in. It’s especially poignant when you remember that at the time, this affected everyone. 58,220 U.S. soldiers died fighting in a war, that according to the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. government knew they could not win.

It could be said that the publishing of these top-secret papers was revolutionary, revealing the true nature of the Vietnam War and the lies of four administrations over two decades.

I could feel the internal struggle of the journalists between their own morality, of their sense of duty as reporters and their fear of going up against the government. There was quite a few moments when I nearly cried out of relief because the suspense kept building and I wasn’t sure if it would end in their favor.

The actors, too, were all amazing in their own right, and gave life to the people behind this historical event, because it is partly a documentary after all (with some artistic liberties). I was surprised at how attached I was to this motley group of journalists, perhaps one journalist in particular.

The publisher of The Washington Post, Katherine Graham is portrayed brilliantly by Meryl Streep, although in the beginning I disliked the character. She came off as too wishy-washy—but that made her character arc all the more impressive when she made the decision to publish despite heavy pressure from the government to cease and desist.

Even the side characters added a touch of humanity to the production. From a suspenseful scene wherein a young Washington Post reporter steals documents from The Times, to a young secretary commenting that “my brother is out there,” every one of these moments added to the movie’s heart.

“The Post” is a human story, filled with suspense and intrigue and is just as relevant now as it was then. Journalism is a powerful thing—without it, nobody would have known about this level of deception in the U.S. government. Spielberg’s timely defense of the press is a great story told well. That’s what makes “The Post” a masterpiece.

Natalie Pearson

Natalie became a member of the Flightline in August of 2017. She is a junior this year, involved in band. Outside of school, she enjoys watching movies and playing video games. You can email her at [email protected]