'The Post' Early Buzz: A Timely, Important Film, And One Of Steven Spielberg's Best

The Post could not have come at a better time, if first reactions to Steven Spielberg's ode to journalism are anything to go by. Set in 1971, The Post recounts the events following the New York Times' publication of the Pentagon Papers. Determined to follow the Times' lead, Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) and editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) face the wrath of the U.S. government over the course of the Post's publication of the Pentagon Papers, which divulge a decades-spanning cover-up of government secrets regarding the Vietnam War.

The embargo for social media reactions to The Post has been lifted, and critics are raving about how timely and important Spielberg's latest film is in an era in which journalism is being assaulted.

See The Post early reactions below.

The Post comes as a saving grace from Spielberg, who critics say is at the top of his game once again — though you would be hard pressed to find a critic who would argue that Spielberg ever fell off his game. But as a director responsible for classics like Jaws, Schindler's List, and E.T., it's still astonishing to hear both /Film's Peter Sciretta and IndieWire's David Ehrlich call The Post Spielberg's best film since Munich. The critics universally agree that The Post is a strong Academy Awards contender.

Streep gives a powerhouse performance as the first female publisher of a major news outlet, and Hanks is a worthy foil. Critics also praise Bob Odenkirk's performance as Ben Bagdikian.

The Post is not being universally praised in early reactions, however. A few critics note that the film is obvious Oscar bait, while a few disagree with the consensus that Spielberg has reached a new career peak, with Eric Vespe calling it Spielberg on "autopilot."

Regardless, The Post rings particularly true today, when free press and media credibility are increasingly questioned and ridiculed. Cries of "fake news" are thrown without any basis in truth, and false information is disseminated every day. Just yesterday, a Washington Post story revealed that the paper was subjected to an undercover scheme attempting to discredit their reporting on the Roy Moore allegations. It seems that films like The Post are invigorating in their unvarnished depiction of the truth.

The all-star cast of The Post is rounded out by Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Tracy Letts, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bradley Whitford, and Zach Woods.

Here is the official synopsis for The Post:

Katharine Graham is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper — The Washington Post. With help from editor Ben Bradlee, Graham races to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents. Together, they must overcome their differences as they risk their careers — and very freedom — to help bring long-buried truths to light.

The Post hits limited theaters on December 22, 2017, before expanding wide on January 12, 2018.