The Post

The Post

2017, PG-13, 116 min. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jesse Plemons, Matthew Rhys, Bradley Whitford.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Jan. 12, 2018

There are numerous ways to look at The Post, the 1971 story of how the Pentagon Papers came to be published by the Washington Post once The New York Times was enjoined from further publication of revelations that the government’s defense of the Vietnam War was based on systematic lies to Congress and the public. First, it is a dandy newspaper film, something of a prequel to All the President’s Men, showing what the Post had been up to in the year prior to the 1972 Watergate scandal. The Post is not as focused on a single storyline as Alan J. Pakula’s masterpiece, which is both a plus in terms of its multiplicity of angles and a minus in its fuzzier narrative trajectory. Yet, The Post has all the signatures of great newspaper movies: the stentorian whirr of the printing press, the rumble it creates in the newsroom above, the swooping noise of the pneumatic copy tubes, and the nimble mysteries of hot type.

It is inescapable that, for better and worse, this is also a Steven Spielberg movie. There’s hardly a filmmaker who can surpass Spielberg’s effectiveness as a storyteller, with his mixture of fluid concision and popular surrender. The film is anchored in the star power of Meryl Streep as the newspaper’s hesitant publisher Katharine Graham, and Tom Hanks as her hand-picked executive editor Ben Bradlee. The Post is more about these personalities than a straightforward newspaper thriller devoted only to following a story lead to its conclusion. Especially in the film’s closing chapters, the director relies on too many laudatory moments and heroic shots that elevate these characters over the essence of the story. Yet Streep is magnificently Streepish and Hanks, playing tougher than usual, more than holds his own against the memory of Jason Robards’ Oscar-winning version of Bradlee in All the President’s Men.

However, one of the essential story strands of The Post is the blossoming of its publisher Katharine “Kay” Graham, who inherited the position after her husband’s death. A well-loved Washington socialite, Graham was unprepared to become the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. The newspaper’s search for, and investigation of, the Pentagon Papers is set against the background of the increased scrutiny of the Post concurrently seeking to take its stock public. Were Graham not already a woman of wavering self-confidence, especially as the sole woman in rooms full of men, the magnitude of deciding to publish the Pentagon Papers would have been enough to make equivocators of die-hard ideologues. Some have remarked that The Post is the story of Kay transforming into Katharine Graham, which is pretty on the mark.

Not to be ignored is that The Post script by Josh Singer (also responsible for the last great shoe-leather newspaper movie, the Oscar-winning Spotlight) and Liz Hannah was written with the expectation of a Hillary Clinton presidency. Instead, the film was rushed into production in spring 2017 for release in the Trump era, where the press has been declared an “enemy of the people.” Undoubtedly, this atmosphere raised the stakes on the film’s truth-seeking mission. Speeches about the need to stand up for the right to publish the truth take on increased urgency and notability in this light. To what extent these were in the original script, or had the same emphasis, is unknown. However, The Post is undeniably an important movie for our times, a product shaped by the present and past, and speaking compellingly to this singular moment in our American history.

Showtimes

Wed., Jan. 17

10:40am, 1:40, 4:45, 7:45, 10:45

Wed., Jan. 17

12:35, 3:35, 6:35, 9:35

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Wed., Jan. 17

12:20, 3:35, 7:30, 10:30

Wed., Jan. 17

1:10, 4:20, 7:50, 10:50

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson, 512/861-7030, drafthouse.com

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Wed., Jan. 17

1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 9:45

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Wed., Jan. 17

CC/DVS 1:40, 4:30, 7:20
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 1:40, 4:30, 7:20

Thu., Jan. 18

CC/DVS 1:40, 4:30, 7:20
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 1:40, 4:30, 7:20

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Wed., Jan. 17

digital 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:30
digital, luxury lounger 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:30

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Wed., Jan. 17

digital 1:00, 3:50, 6:50, 9:50
digital, luxury lounger 1:00, 3:50, 6:50, 9:50

Thu., Jan. 18

digital 1:00, 3:50, 6:50, 9:50
digital, luxury lounger 1:00, 3:50, 6:50, 9:50

Wed., Jan. 17

digital 12:30, 3:40, 6:50, 9:50
digital, luxury lounger 12:30, 3:40, 6:50, 9:50

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Wed., Jan. 17

digital 12:50, 3:55, 7:00, 10:05
digital, luxury lounger 12:50, 3:55, 7:00, 10:05

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Wed., Jan. 17

digital 1:25, 4:20, 7:10, 10:20
digital, luxury lounger 1:25, 4:20, 7:10, 10:20

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Wed., Jan. 17

digital 12:15, 3:30, 6:30, 9:15

Thu., Jan. 18

digital 12:15, 3:30, 6:30, 9:15

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Wed., Jan. 17

1:10, 4:05, 6:45, 9:45

Thu., Jan. 18

1:10, 4:05, 6:45, 9:45

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Wed., Jan. 17

11:15am, 1:50, 4:35, 7:20, 10:10
OC 7:00
OpenCap 7:00

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Wed., Jan. 17

CC 12:20, 3:30, 7:00, 10:00

Thu., Jan. 18

CC 12:20, 3:30, 7:00, 10:00

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Wed., Jan. 17

CC/DL/HI 12:50, 3:50, 6:55, 9:30
ClosedCap;DescListen;HI 12:50, 3:50, 6:55, 9:30

Thu., Jan. 18

CC/DL/HI 12:50, 3:50, 6:55, 9:30
ClosedCap;DescListen;HI 12:50, 3:50, 6:55, 9:30

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Wed., Jan. 17

CC/DVS 12:25, 12:25, 3:15, 3:15, 6:15, 6:15, 9:30, 9:30
CC/DVS 12:25, 12:25, 3:15, 3:15, 6:15, 6:15, 9:30, 9:30

Thu., Jan. 18

CC/DVS 12:25, 12:25, 3:15, 3:15, 6:15, 6:15, 9:30, 9:30
CC/DVS 12:25, 12:25, 3:15, 3:15, 6:15, 6:15, 9:30, 9:30

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Wed., Jan. 17

1:00, 4:25, 7:45, 11:05

Thu., Jan. 18

12:00, 3:25, 6:45, 10:05

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Wed., Jan. 17

CC/DVS 1:20, 4:20, 7:20, 10:20

Thu., Jan. 18

CC/DVS 1:20, 4:20, 7:20, 10:20

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/austin/

Wed., Jan. 17

11:00am, 2:15, 6:30, 9:40

Thu., Jan. 18

11:00am, 2:15, 6:30, 9:40

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Wed., Jan. 17

1:55, 4:45, 7:30

Thu., Jan. 18

1:55, 4:45, 7:30

Wed., Jan. 17

11:40am, 4:30, 7:30, 10:10

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Wed., Jan. 17

11:15am, 1:50, 4:35, 7:20, 10:10
OpenCap 7:00

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar Blvd, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Wed., Jan. 17

CC/DVS 11:15am, 2:00, 4:40, 7:20, 10:00

Thu., Jan. 18

CC/DVS 11:15am, 2:00, 4:40, 7:20, 10:00

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READ MORE
More Steven Spielberg
Truth in Journalism: The Making of <i>The Post</i>
The Making of The Post
Reporters and researchers on Spielberg's journalistic epic

Acacia Coronado, Jan. 15, 2018

More Steven Spielberg Films
The BFG
Steven Spielberg tackles Roald Dahl’s 1982 children's book

Kimberley Jones, July 1, 2016

Bridge of Spies
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks revisit the Cold War

Steve Davis, Oct. 16, 2015

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Dec. 29, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Post, Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jesse Plemons, Matthew Rhys, Bradley Whitford

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