Saturday, January 27, 2018

ANOTHER MOVIE

We got so fired up when we took our guests to the movies, we went to another one last week!

We saw The Post, with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. The story is about the release of the Pentagon Papers, the secret report that detailed what went on behind the Viet Nam War.

The report, commissioned by then Secretary of Defense Robert Macnamara, was kept from the public. All the while Americans were being told the war was winnable and just, they never knew a report concluded just the opposite.

At the time, there was a great controversy about the unauthorized release amid the shock that the government had lied. I believe that Ellsberg, the man who stole the papers, went to trial but was not convicted.

The movie tells two--actually, three--stories. One shows how the New York Times printed some of the papers before it had to halt publication due to a court-ordered injunction. A second focuses on how the Washington Post took up the standard and defied the court order so that Americans could continue to learn the truth. The third shows Katharine Meyer Graham beginning to turn from a socialite housewife into the powerful businesswoman she later became.

Katherine's father had bought the Post but at his death, he left it to her husband Phillip. Back then, despite the women who were millworkers and nurses and teachers, women didn't own businesses. However when her husband committed suicide, Katherine inherited the company. She lacked confidence in her abilities and the movie shows her uncertainty as she meekly listens to the male advisers around her, worries about what she should do, and wonders how she can function in a milieu where she feels ineffectual and ignorant.

And when, against her lawyers' advice, she finally makes her decision to publish the Pentagon Papers despite the court order against the Times, she's uncertain and fearful but determined. It must have taken a great deal of courage to go against a lifetime of bowing to men's superior knowledge. It must have taken even more courage to know she could go to jail for standing up for what she believed: the freedom of the press.

But she did. And at the end of the movie, she leaves the courtroom where the NY Times has just been vindicated, to rows of young women lining the steps, watching her in silent admiration. And that was certainly a portent of what was to come, when women finally flexed their muscles.

Hanks is good; Streep is good; if you get a chance, see the movie.


6 comments:

  1. I'll have to catch this one. I've been meaning to see it.

    The Pentagon Papers also made it into Ken Burns' documentary on the war, of course.

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  2. Great review.
    We keep missing movies we want to see. Have not even seen Star Wars ! ? !

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

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    Replies
    1. If I had to see one, I'd pick Jumanji if I preferred a laugh out loud or The Darkest Hour for inspiring. Not that the Star Wars isn't good. But if you've seen one, you know what to expect.

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  3. I heard Tom Hanks was "invited" to host a viewing for the Trumps at the White House. He declined.

    I've always liked Tom Hanks!

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