The Post

Veteran New York Times reporters have complained that they were written out of this drama about the Pentagon Papers, the classified government study of the Vietnam war whose June 1971 publication in the Times became a turning point in the national debate. But screenwriters Liz Hannah and Josh Singer aren’t making a reportorial thriller; this is essentially a boardroom drama about the legal and journalistic issues that confronted the small, family-owned Washington Post when a federal court injunction halted the Times series but the Post obtained its own portions of the study. Meryl Streep stars as publisher Kay Graham, gently raising her voice against a chorus of male board members who advise her to obey the injunction, and Tom Hanks gets all gravelly as executive editor Ben Bradlee. Their best scenes together reveal how each journalist was compromised by cozy relationships with powerful Democrats (in his case, President Kennedy; in hers, defense secretary Robert McNamara). Steven Spielberg directed.