History as Thriller, ‘The Post’

IF THERE is a film better timed for a moment in history, I cannot think of one. And it’s not only the history it tells that rivets the audience.

Just when you think Meryl Streep cannot possibly give a career-topping performance, she does. The poignancy, vulnerability, and conflict she battles as Katharine Graham, the Post’s publisher, develops minute by minute in the film. It captivates you. If you’ve been a woman fighting for your own place of power you sense every breath, and moment of angst.

Mrs. Graham inherited her role at the Washington Post when her husband committed suicide (as did her son).

The first woman elected to the Senate, Hattie Wyatt Caraway of Arkansas, won her seat after she had been appointed to it when her husband died serving in office.

This is the way women came to power in the 21st century; before that time, we didn’t.

The Post is a reminder how much American citizens depend on the First Amendment. What journalism means to our democratic republic cannot be overstated, as Thomas Jefferson lectured.

The film begins during the last gasp of the Vietnam era.

A time when the 1970s feminist revolution exploded.

And Americans’ distrust in the institutions we need to keep our country whole began.

The Post is a great film for so many reasons. One of them is that it reminds people of a time when having a woman in the room changed the course of journalism history.