That's a heavy dramatic load for one film, but it's no impediment to the director. That could make for an unlikely audience of White House staffers, GOP lawmakers being hosted at the presidential retreat and, who knows, maybe the president himself.
Those tense couple of weeks in June form the spine of "The Post", a fleet, stirring, thoroughly entertaining movie in which Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks play Graham and Bradlee with just the right balance of modesty, gusto and expertly deployed star power.
The Pentagon Papers, a study commissioned by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, revealed that the last four USA presidents had always known but would never admit to the public that the Vietnam War was unwinnable.
The description of "The Post" on IMDb read, "A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government".
Unbelievably, this marks the first time that he and Streep have acted together in a film.
Storyteller Spielberg is his usual deft overseer, conjuring considerable suspense, compelling and inspiring us even though we know the outcome in advance. It was political dynamite, at a time when lying to the American people still meant something and Executive Branch abuse of authority caused consternation in the voting booth. Spielberg summons us to remember why that mattered. He easily finesses the complexities of the script by first-time feature writer Liz Hannah (who was inspired by Graham's best-selling 1997 memoir) and old hand Josh Singer ("Spotlight"), and he ladles on the emotional flashpoints and democratic idealism, daring you to call it corn.
Still, "The Post" delivers a story that is heartily worth telling, and it does it well.
In truth, there may actually be little too much journo nostalgia in The Post, for people for whom ink doesn't flow in their veins.
"The Post" works on many levels, from polemic and thinly veiled cautionary tale to fun period piece and rip-roaring newspaper yarn. Vastly more ad-starved publications now live perpetually on the knife's edge that, for Graham in The Post, lasts only as long as before the closing of her round of financing. She's frequently dressed in fancy attire, having abandoned one social event or another in order to deal with the messy matter of saving democracy.
"When it came down to give it to someone, he gave it to her husband, a brilliant man".
Spielberg has described the much-hyped freedom of the press drama as "a feminist movie", thanks to Streep's portrayal of Graham.
Mr. Hanks, who plays Ben Bradlee, the former editor of The Post, told The Hollywood Reporter in December that he would not attend a White House screening of his own movie. This visually rhymes with a shot near the end of showing Streep leaving the Supreme Court and walking down the steps surrounded by young women gazing up at her, beaming with adoration, bathed in the nearly heavenly glow of Janusz Kamiński's cinematography.
Steven Spielbergs The Post is a fake news movie, a true story told phony to further an agenda.