Before I go on to the similarities shared by the two female lead characters, let me tell you that Charlie Pierce went into journalism to do the serious, hard, gritty work -- the kind you see in both movies. Back in 1976, a lot of other guys on campus went into journalism really because they wanted to be more Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman than reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
Meryl Streep plays Katherine Graham, the first woman publisher of a major U.S. newspaper. But her Washington Post is behind The New York Times. The New York City competition broke a major story about the Pentagon Papers -- shady business going on in Nixon's White House -- while The Washington Post was covering celebrity weddings.
Katherine inherited the job. She loves the paper, employees at work like her, but she really has not found her voice in the job. Ben Bradlee, played by Tom Hanks, is the ballsy editor who wants to beat The New York Times. As Katherine and Ben dig in it becomes obvious that Nixon is corrupt. They are threatened with prison time if they keep doing their work as journalists.
Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee is to Katherine Graham in THE POST what Dr. Lecter is to Clarice Starling in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Both men respect the woman. They see her intelligence. They see that she is the gender outsider. They push her to take her power up a notch and uncover the crime. They push her to take on the monster in the house who is breaking the law, whether the house is a big creepy one that has a woman being held hostage underground...or the White House where the Constitution is being abused.
Notice those similarities. Women find their power, their voice in a male-dominated workplace in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and THE POST. These two fine films are worth a look -- another look if you've already seen them.