In the Dark

Lies and Consequences

The Post
Produced by Dreamworks 
Directed by Steven Spielberg 
Screenplay by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer 
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox 

The Phantom Thread
Produced and distributed by Focus Features 
Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson 

The Post is Steven Spielberg’s account of the Washington Post’s 1971 decision to publish the Robert McNamara-ordered report United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense.  More commonly known as the Pentagon Papers, this classified 7,000-page document was stolen by former Marine and military analyst Daniel Ellsberg and released to the press.  The film is absorbing, intelligent, and profoundly misleading.

Screenwriters Liz Hannah and Josh Singer have followed closely the account of events provided by the Post’s then-publisher, Katharine Graham, in her autobiography, Personal History, but they’ve done so selectively.  I give their script high marks for tracing America’s role in Vietnam back to 1945, when Franklin Roosevelt and (later) Harry Truman decided not to support the French in their struggle to maintain their colony in Indochina after World War II.  Once the French withdrew in 1954, what had been our hands-off...

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