New release “The Post,” directed by Steven Spielberg, stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. For some people the review could stop here. With those three names, you know it’s going to be a good movie. At its core, the movie is about the first amendment right to the freedom of speech. The movie’s main conflict involves the discovery of classified documents showing U.S. government deception about the Vietnam War. In the movie, the government told the people of the United States that the military was off fighting for a good cause and winning. However, these papers say the opposite, divulging that consecutive U.S. presidents continued the war despite information proving the possibility of winning.
The New York Times then decides to publish parts of the papers. The government, seeing this as a breach of security, bans them from publishing the paper and takes the New York Times to the Supreme Court. Their biggest competition, The Washington Post, seeing the opportunity to find the papers and publish the truth, is faced with a dilemma. If they publish the papers, they run the risk of being shut down just like the New York Times, but if they don’t they are not reporting the truth. It all comes down on Meryl Streep’s shoulders, who struggles with the decision of whether to publish the documents. She must fight against her Board of Directors to maintain her position as head of the Washington Post all while proving that she can do the job as well as, if not better than her late husband.
This movie is based on the true history of the Pentagon papers, so even though you probably know the outcome I’m not going to spoil the movie because it is so well done. “The Post” is not controversial per say, but it made its debut at a good time considering the recent rampant amount of fake news and discussions of whether or not false news should be published. While dramatic and stressful, the movie really brings to light the reason for the first amendment and the freedom of the press. Not to get deeply political, but the press is supposed to be a check of sorts on the power of the government. The people have the right to know exactly what their government is doing.
The film is a prime example of the government hiding information that deeply impacted the lives of Americans. Personally, I loved this movie. I have been a huge fan of Meryl Streep since “The Devil Wears Prada” and I love how she handles leadership roles in her films. I’m also a history nerd who loves debate about the Constitution. I would highly recommend watching this movie not just because it stars amazing actors and has a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat, but because it shows exactly why we need freedom of the press.