Pixel Tracker

Sunday, November 18 , 2018, 12:04 pm | Fair with Haze 65º

 
 
 
 

Cinema in Focus: ‘The Post’

3 Stars — Powerful

The sorrow of the Vietnam War is pervasive. This is not only due to the 58,220 young Americans and 2,250,000 Vietnamese civilians and soldiers who were killed, but also to the discovery that our government lied to us.

These lies were articulated over decades by multiple presidents of both political parties. We know this not because of the transparency of our leaders but due to our freedom of press. The Post is the true story of how this freedom was threatened when it attempted to provide these truths to our citizens.

Directed by Steven Spielberg this story focuses on Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep),the publisher of The Washington Post. When her husband died, Graham was named the publisher of the newspaper that her grandfather had bought in the 1930s.

In a day when women were not considered capable of leading, her father had given her husband control of the paper, but upon his suicidal death the responsibility fell to her. But the men on her board had no confidence in her to lead and she herself was unsure of her own capacity. This secondary theme is woven into the first as she not only grows in confidence but also protects her paper’s freedom and responsibility to expose the lies of government.

A third theme is the friendships of the editors and publishers of the press with the presidents and government officials. We see this in two ways, in Graham’s friendship with Secretary of State Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood) and her editor’s friendship with President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jackie Kennedy.

A caricatured hard-hitting editor, Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), comes to realize that the pressure he is putting on Graham to publish the Pentagon Papers is hypocritical when he himself succumbed to the Kennedys’ requests.

We won’t spoil how these three interlocking themes work out except to note that the historic dynamics have left a lasting impression on our culture. Today, few question the freedom of the press to hold government officials accountable, and most agree that women leaders are as capable as men to lead.

But the third theme is not as clearly resolved. It is clear that the wealthy class often cover for each other to the detriment of the middle class and poor — as it is also true that in the professions where doctors, lawyers, priests and pastors often excuse each other rather than hold one another accountable. In both the wealthy class and the professions, this lack of accountability is destructive to the very people the press and the professions are supposed to serve.

Historical films are often helpful in understanding why we have the problems we do. The Post is a great example of this and worthy of our consideration and conversation.

Discussion

» For those of us who lived through the Vietnam War and experienced the tremendous loss and destruction this film brings up old wounds. Do you think this film helps heal our wounds or deepens them?

» It’s a struggle for Katherine Graham to find her voice. Have you ever been in a place where your voice is discounted? What did you do to find your courage and confidence?

» Have you experienced a professional harming you and then being inappropriately supported by a peer? What did you do?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is the retired pastor of Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara and lead superintendent of Free Methodist Church in Southern California. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.