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That’s when The New York Times, followed by The Washington Post, published extensive excerpts from the Pentagon Papers: the top-secret government history of the Vietnam War that revealed, for the first time, the lies told to the American people about U. Both of them want a great newspaper, one that will shake off its image as a “local paper” and do more than make headlines; they want it to make history. The rascally Bradlee is like the prim and proper Graham’s id: She hired him, but can’t decide whether to encourage or repress him.

Ben Bradlee can smell something is up — he’s noticed that Sheehan hasn’t had a by-line in three months — and the film hooks you with Bradlee’s cussed old-school fervor, which takes the form of his brazen desire to compete with the Times.

When he and two of his reporters first see the Pentagon Papers story on a newsstand, learning about it along with everyone else, Bradlee knows how historically vital it is — but he also knows that he’s been scooped.

At the same time, part of what rescues the movie from any vestige of preachiness is that it’s framed as a business drama.

Streep’s Graham, who inherited the publisher’s mantle after her husband’s suicide, is about to take the family newspaper public, and much is made of the share price: Will it will be .50 or ?

Despite a White House ban, Bradlee refuses to take the acerbic Judith Martin (Jessie Mueller) off the Tricia Nixon wedding, and that minor decision reflects his core values. “The Post” has some good tense scenes set in the analog era of reporting, notably when Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk), the harried Post reporter with a long-time connection to Ellsberg, hunts him down using multiple pay phones, then flies to Washington with the boxed papers in their own special seat.

The shoe-leather dimension of reporting has always been more dramatic than contemporary scenes of investigators staring into their computer terminals.

Bradlee, a former pal of JFK’s, also played the game of rubbing elbows with power. The press — the media — becomes greater than the sum of its parts. The Pentagon Papers marked an iconic moment in American history: the press claiming its own freedom to call out the excesses of power. Producers: Amy Pascal, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg.

But now, disgusted by the lies revealed in the Pentagon Papers, he enunciates the new credo. “The Post” celebrates what that means, tapping into an enlightened nostalgia for the glory days of newspapers, but the film also takes you back to a time when the outcome was precarious, and the freedoms we thought we took for granted hung in the balance. Film Review: ' The Post' Reviewed at Dolby 88, New York, Nov. Executive producers: Tom Karnowski, Josh Singer, Adam Somner, Tim White, Trevor White.