JANUARY 12, 2017 -- In June of 1971, the New York Times began printing a series of reports based on the findings in a stack of secret government documents on the Vietnam War called, "The Pentagon Papers." The exposure of the papers led to President Nixon to force the New York Times to discontinue the series. The Washington Post got hold of the papers and began running their own stories which dew the wrath of the White House.


After all the dust cleared, a new door opened exposing corruption in the Nixon administration that became known as Watergate. But it was the courage under fire by the Washington Post to go forth with their Pentagon Papers series, that justified their expose concerning Watergate...and the toppling of a president.


Director Steven Spielberg tells the behind the scenes story of how the relatively new publisher of the Post - Kay Graham - put her paper's future on the line and ran the series despite negative input from her all-male advisory board. With approval and encouragement from her executiv editor, Ben Bradlee, Graham took a huge step forward for business women in a then all-male world.

Using a screenplay written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer ("Spotlight"), Spielberg cast Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in the leads while bringing to life the drama of 1970s journalism. Much like "Spotlight" a couple of years ago, the film focuses on the power of the press to bring to light truths about once untouchable targets.


Though Streep doesn't give her best performance - a mediocre performance by her is better than most others best offerings! Her Graham character is thrown to the dogs after recently inheriting the paper from her father. She goes from naive and vulnerable to sharp and aggressive in a hurry. Streep is one of the best at evolving her characters from scene to scene.


Hanks is perfectly suited as the tough-as-nails editor who believes he has the right to publish any credible story, regardless of the consequences. He brings his "every man" persona. This is his first role that he is convincing as an executive.


Typical of Spielberg, the details are spot on. He recalls an era that many of us forgot from the cars to the televisions. He gets superior support performances from Tracy Letts and Alison Brie. It does lack the jaw dropping drama of "Spotlight" but nevertheless is topical, especially during the current political environment.


For youngsters, the movie tells the evolution of the Washington Post from a local paper to a national concern with many of the same characters from "All The President's Men" represented.


"The Post" is, in fact, absolutely the perfect prequel to "All The Presidents Men". It is what you'd expect in a Steven Spielberg direct film starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep - a contender!   -- GRADE A --   GEOFF BURTON