Film – The Post

Film – The Post

I love the newspaper industry, where I enjoyed a 17 year career and I have an unexplained interest in American political history (not current, I hasten to add) so add in Tom Hanks, this should be the film of the year.

While the story of just how the Washington Post managed to obtain highly sensitive government documents and publish a damaging story about the Nixon government is important, the film treads quite slowly. It’s really in three parts; the build-up, the discovery and the execution.

The build up to how the documents were leaked where we eventually get introduced to Hanks’ Ben Bradlee, the editor and Meryl Streep playing the publisher, Kathryn Graham. Here I am mainly noticing the interiors (plush rugs and chandeliers) at the home of the heiress of The Post, who having never done a day’s work in her life expectantly inherited the company her father started after her husband committed suicide.

Not to take away from the film’s quality – and I did get a few decorating ideas – it only really took off in the next act when we saw Katharine Graham battling the suits of her own board who clearly couldn’t comprehend this lady actually knowing her stuff. She didn’t really, but she was prepared to learn as she loved the paper and was proud of the quality of her journalists.

It was the final act that showed printing presses quickened my heart though. I still miss the smell of the old print rooms and being able to pick up a newspaper while it’s still warm, literally hot off the press.

The films also gives us three stories; that of the first female publisher of a major newspaper house way back in the 1970s and the length she goes to both prove her worth and ensure she keeps hold of her family legacy, the freedom of the press and corrupt governments. All strangely relevant in 2018 when I assumed/hoped the days of my not being able to order a drink in a bar in Fleet Street wearing trousers ended in the 1990s.

There is perhaps an exaggerated moment later when Kathryn exits the court hearing and walks past many young women who linger admiringly at their new role model. But given current affairs, the scene is absolutely valid.

I’m surprised I hadn’t even heard of this film in until I saw the trailer and learn afterwards that it was made in under a year. It may not end up as one of my films of the year but a thoroughly enjoyable watch.


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