Hidden Figures Review

Sometimes there are stories in history that we never knew about until it’s written in a book or even yet construct it together into a movie for visual pleasures. These are the kinds of stories that are meant to be told to everybody. But have you ever knew about how three African-American women worked at NASA. For me, never came to mind. But “Hidden Figures” has a story that’s interesting to the fullest effort. Director Theodore Melfi (“St. Vincent”) did a perfect job directing and writing this with his co-writer Allison Schroeder as they drafted this based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly. When you got yourself a drama revolving around space and math, you got me interested. Even if math isn’t a strong suit let alone won’t be working for NASA any time soon. And with a title like that, it represents the women who work behind the scenes of everything that stands for African-American women workers everywhere around those times.

“Hidden Figures” takes place in the 1960s as America was competing against Russia in the Space Race. As NASA is trying to put the first man into space, they bring in the bright minds of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) who’s brilliant in all things math with her friends Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) to hopefully have to right mathematical skills to launch the first successful space missions during the times of segregation.

Taraji P. Henson in Hidden Figures (2016)

This is such an intriguing story to finally learn about because there were things about how anybody knows the calculations into making sure these astronauts safe and sound from traveling the orbit. And most importantly the diversity that surrounds everything that couldn’t be accomplished if it wasn’t for these women.

The ensemble in this was too perfect, especially with the three leads. Normally, I’m not the biggest fan of Taraji P. Henson because there are times where she can overact in movies. But she was really good as Katherine. She encapsulates the mind of her real-life counterpart with a lot of smarts into her performance. Almost throughout the entirety of the film, her character is very good at math and it makes me jealous and wants to be as smart as her. Octavia Spencer (“The Help”) was once again pulled in a great character as Dorothy. She was funny and just does whatever she can to get up top. The best performance in the entire movie was hands-down Janelle Monáe. Primarily known for singing, this was a surprise performance as she was phenomenal as Mary. There’s a scene where she’s talking to a judge and it’s just so good. I heard she was good in Moonlight too, but haven’t seen it yet. Kevin Costner is always great and it’s the type of role to be the guy who wants everything to be done.

Anytime a movie has the setting during the 1960s especially the Civil Rights movement, there’s always a new perspective in seeing how the world was back then. There’s almost so much hatred between blacks especially the women around those times. It was a time where there were separate bathrooms and water fountains. Everybody looks at someone differently because of their skin color. Almost every scene where it gets a bit racial, it unbelievable how they treat people like that. The greatest thing about the world we live in now doesn’t need all that trouble and was able to be anywhere we’re able to be. The most important thing about the story that should be talked about is how we need to trust people who are able to do anything even if it’s someone with a different color. The ability to achieve many levels of things is the best way to do anything even in a timely manner.

Probably the problems were I felt there wasn’t too much buildup in some scenes. Maybe that’s just me but it some of them could’ve used a bit more “oomph” into them. And Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”) felt pointless in the scenes he’s in. It’s pretty obvious the type of character he’s playing as he’s the smart guy in the office but I couldn’t see past anyone else for that matter.

The music was so good too. Composed by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, and Benjamin Wallfisch with songs written by Williams were upbeat and catchy.

Will this be in talks for some Oscar nominations? It’s quite possible. If it were, it will be up for Best Picture, Spencer or Monáe for Best Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, and Original Score. With this and another Oscar consideration movies like a “Fences” or a “Moonlight” to where it’s a black-focused cast, it’s great to see these types of movies getting the recognition they deserve as it was ignored the last two years. If the late John Glenn was still alive, he would’ve appreciated the work it’s done for this movie.

Anyone who’s a Math & Engineering major will really appreciate what’s being accomplished in this.

Hidden Figures” is a well-acted and uplifting drama that’s unbelievable that this was a true story and its importance to be told.

Grade: B

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