Hidden Figures is the perfect example of how representation matters and that more uplifting black stories need to be showcased.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Director: Theodore Melfi
Classification: 7 – 9 PG
Running time: 127 minutes
Words can’t explain how important this movie is. I walked out of this film and looked at one of my fellow reviewers, who also is a person of colour, and both of us were in tears looking at each other and knowing exactly what the other was thinking without saying a word. THIS MOVIE MATTERS!
Hidden Figures uncovers the incredible, untold yet true story of a brilliant group of black women – Katherine G. Johnson(Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan(Octavia Spencer) & Mary Jackson(Janelle Monáe).
These three women changed the foundations of America by aiming for the stars.
The film recounts the history of an elite team of black female mathematicians at NASA who helped win the all-out space race against the Soviet Union and, at the same time, sent the quest for equal rights and opportunity rocketing forwards.
Hidden Figures plays off in the 60’s and showcases the struggles and hardships these phenomenal women had to overcome to been viewed as equals. Not only were they dealing with segregation, but they also had to fight against misogyny and patriarchy that was/is rooted in society.
Director Theodore Melfi brilliantly showcases the hardships of the time but steers away from making segregation the focal point of the movie.
Don’t get me wrong – it still plays an integral part of the of the movie however, these three amazing women are squarely the focus.
Each of the women gets equal screen time and even though Taraji P Henson is the lead, all of them get an equal share of the story. Henson’s portrayal of Katherine is spectacular. Gone is any hint of Cookie Lyon as she takes on the role of a brilliant mathematician. The big surprise of the film is Janelle Monáe. Usually, when singers try to act they are only cast for their star power and don’t have real acting chops (I’m looking at you, Rihanna). Monáe can be considered a real actor.
Octavia Spencer, like Viola Davis, is one of the current actresses who has yet to give a bad performance in a film. In Hidden Figures, she speaks as much with words as she does with her expressions in her body.
The screenplay is a perfect balance of comedy and drama. In general, it has a lighter tone,l however when serious moments occur they are impactful and will bring you to tears. Melfi doubles as a co-writer for the film and along with Allison Schroeder does a stellar job of taking the story of these women and bringing it to the big screen in an entertaining yet meaningful manner.
Overall Hidden Figures is one of the best films of the year.
I implore everybody to go out and watch this film. These are stories they need to be told. We need to support stories that show how amazing these brave people of colour were.