Steven Spielberg's The Post is a story of journalists, government leaks, and a president who hates the press. It's about the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, but there's a reason Spielberg rushed to tell the story now.
And he really did rush: The filmmaker has long talked about making a Pentagon Papers movie, but the 2016 election made him feel it had become urgent. He got the working script just weeks after the inauguration, rounded up his high-powered cast, and leapt into production as if he were making a little indie flick on the fly.
But this story is big. We begin with defense secretary Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood) talking with staffers on a plane about how badly things are going in Vietnam — but then, when talking to reporters the moment they touch down, praising the progress the U.S. is making.
Staffer Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) registers this disconnect, and leaks a top-secret government report on the war to the New York Times. And whenever the Times gets a scoop, Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) gets riled.