Complete A-Z list

Post, The


Stars: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Tracy Letts, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, Jesse Plemons, Curzon Pobell

Director: Steven Spielberg

Hanks and Streep give terrific performances - his best for some time - in this newspaper drama which, although it takes rather too long to get to the pith of things, finally hits all the right emotional buttons.

She's Katharine 'Kay' Graham, the publisher of The Washington Post, then (1971) a smallish player in the East Coast press world, and Hanks is Ben Bradlee, its trenchant editor.

When the Post comes into possession of highly confidential White House papers revealing that four US presidents - Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson - colluded into deceiving the American people over Vietnam, a conflict that all four knew was a war that America could not win, battlelines are swiftly set between the newspaper and the authorities over the right to publish.

The New York Times is the first to get a whiff of the story, and has a Presidential injunction slapped on it, so the dilemma Graham faces is whether to risk publication and face a possible prison sentence in so doing. This could be the last Post...

Decorated with some pithy dialogue - 'Outside of landing the Hindenberg in an electric storm, that's the shittiest idea I've ever heard' exclaims one character - the dilemmas of the principal characters are clearly set out, although it's Streep and Hanks forever driving the film forward, with a valuable assist from Odenkirk as the reporter who first gains possession of the classified documents.

In some ways a prequel to All the President's Men (which featured the Watergate expose by the same paper), this is not quite in that class but, after a stodgy first half-hour, will have you gripped right up to the end.

David Quinlan

USA 2017. UK Distributor: EntertainmentOne (DreamWorks/20th Century Fox). Technicolor.
118 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 13 Jan 2018