A newspaper faces legal threats by a ruthless presidential administration amid allegations of treasonous criminal corruption and actions tantamount to negligent mass murder. But don’t worry; it’s only a movie.

The year is 1971, and the Nixon administration is in the final stages of the Vietnam War, when a series of documents from a Rand Corporation feasibility study dating back to Harry Truman is leaked to the New York Times and subsequently the Washington Post. Its damning evidence implicates knowledge at the highest levels of government that for more than 30 years the war was not all it was billed to be.

“The Post” is the First Amendment feel-good film of the year, harkening the 2015 surprise Best Picture winner, “Spotlight.” There’s something eerily nostalgic and relatable about the print newspaper generation, and although there are two megastars in the film, and a very strong supporting cast, you can almost smell the freshly printed paper and feel that gritty smear on your fingers. Ah, to be a newspaper delivery boy again.

The real magic of the film lies in the dark underbelly of the Washington Post building, where men in short-sleeve shirts with ties and pocket-protectors, or women in tight, uncomfortable polyester skirts frantically scramble to deliver papers to their important destinations. Or perhaps they are furiously hunting and pecking on their Royal typewriter with just their pointer fingers, while puffing away at a cigar.

Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks headline as the owner (Kay Graham) and the chief editor (Ben Bradlee) respectively. They deliver strong, peerless performances as usual, but Hanks seemed to coast a bit and Streep lacked the climactic, captivating speech I was hoping to see, instead shrinking into the insecurities of her character. It’s a strong performance by the four-time Oscar winner, but I wasn’t blown away like I have been in the past, and that might be a reflection of the story, not the actress.

Steven Spielberg adds another Best Picture contender and inevitable Oscar nomination to his already distinguished resume. The subtle nuance of women’s rights and progress toward equality was a nice touch, which works well within the context of the setting, and isn’t showcased as much as acknowledged. The suspense and drama of the constitutional issues are a bit less compelling, however. Knowing historically that the Washington Post is still in circulation, and that the First Amendment has yet to be repealed (but who knows?) the finale is a bit anticlimactic. That doesn’t take away from the overall high quality of the film, and the enjoyment of the experience from start to finish.

Personally, my favorite scenes were those of the paper itself being printed. Men lining up the metal templates just right, so they can stamp the miles-long rolls of paper over and over. The blue-collar everyman toiling in a dark, smoky room, so the daily paper can get delivered on time. It’s really a thing of beauty.

“The Post” isn’t the best film of the year, but it is the best nonfiction biopic of the year. Edging out “Detroit” and “The Darkest Hour” for that honor, it’s a reminder of the important role media plays in our society, and the inherent risk of reporting when those in government commit criminal or unconstitutional acts. Our nation is after all a Democratic Republic, and the media has long been the watchdog of those in power.

In today’s internet age, there can be a yearning for the simpler times when social media didn’t dilute real news, but fortunately, there is still integrity in most print media, and the noble cause of truth and justice is the backbone and lifeblood of our American value system.