Meryl Streep's masterful performance is the big news in 'The Post'

Meryl Streep Got Medical Marijuana For Christmas

Here, too, there are moments that are a bit overwrought-Graham descends the steps of the Supreme Court through a sea of women gazing at her in unabashed hero-worship-but it's a fascinating piece of character study, even if it's one that's more parallel to the central narrative than integrated into it. The film blasts off like a rocket once things are set in motion, nearly like an Indiana Jones movie starring news reporters, and Spielberg's flair for emotional wrangling and melodrama somehow work their charm like a well oiled machine.

It was a celebratory night for "The Post", which is seen as a major Oscar contender, but which nevertheless received no nominations from Tuesday's BAFTA Awards.

The film makes a powerful statement on journalistic integrity and the crucial role of a free press in a democracy.

It's the summer of 1971, and the Nixon administration is angry at the Post over coverage of the White House wedding of Richard Nixon's daughter Tricia.

Meryl Streep does Graham and Tom Hanks Bradlee.

Around these two, Michael Rhys (The Americans) and Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) are especially effective as the whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg and Bradlee's trusted lieutenant Ben Bagdikian.

Bradlee fumes and orders his staff to play catch-up.

Sure, Steven Spielberg's riveting journalism thriller takes place in 1971 and covers the Washington Post's fight to print the Pentagon Papers, documents that contained highly classified information about the United States' involvement in Vietnam. Seriously, I had goosebumps on my arms watching tied-up bundles of newspapers being tossed onto trucks about to bring Truth to the world. The Times' involvement is more well-known, but Spielberg, Hannah and Singer use the Post's perspective to tell an underdog story of sorts, as the paper is in the midst of a hard transition, attempting to heighten its national profile and also preparing for a public stock offering.

The story begins just after Graham - with nearly no experience running a newspaper - had hired the now legendary Ben Bradlee as the newspaper's editor. On Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, Hanks was nominated for a Golden Globe for best actor in a motion picture drama for his role in the film.

The script, credited to "Spotlight" scribe Josh Singer (the fixer) and to Liz Hannah (the original writer), is tight and full of conversations weighted with moral hazards, but you're most likely to remember vividly just one four-way telephone conversation in which Graham has to make the Decision: Will The Post risk criminal prosecution from Nixon's Justice Department by printing The Pentagon Papers?

She's also trying to take her newspaper public by selling stock in the company, so she doesn't need any trouble that could affect the price.

While promoting The Post, Streep and Tom Hanks spoke to CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

"Why?! Why!? I was robbed", she said.

"She was quite a lady", Marcil said.

This, of course, drives Bradlee nuts.

While there is an interesting tick tock of will-they-won't-they publish the papers, at the heart of the story is Graham, an obviously smart and capable woman who is full of doubt, and is doubted by almost everyone around her.

The decision facing Graham is not an easy one: People could go to prison, the Post could cease operating.

As always, Spielberg is a great storyteller who is never better than when doing biographical material like Schindler's List, Bridge of Spies, Lincoln, Munich, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal and Amistad - or movies based on real-life events like Saving Private Ryan and War Horse.

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