‘Hidden Figures’

Hidden Figures
8.9 Overall Score
Performance : 9/10
Story : 8/10

There are some period pieces that both captures a perfect snap shot of the time period and that it speaks to modern times with inspiration. There are also stories in modern history that do not receive as much attention or credence as they should – thankfully, we have cinema to provide their time in the sun. Hidden Figures is set within a time period where there were many moving parts – the space race between the U.S.A. and Russia, the ongoing civil rights movement, and women finding a level playing field in society.

The movie itself is adapted from Margot Lee Shetterly’s non-fiction book, that is set in rural 1961 Virginia. Mathematician Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), rising engineer Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) and aspiring supervisor Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer). These three women work for NASA behind one of the most important projects in history to where the U.S.A. sent John Glenn into orbit.

The real beauty of Hidden Figures is the fact that the performances and social problems during the period piece all have a way of being equally relevant. The sisterhood of Henson, Spencer, and Monae all have their moments together and apart. Their performances are powerful, almost if you are looking at a recording of the moment, rather than an reenactment. There are little nuances and how each character acts which gives each of the main characters a different thread to their strife. Characters like supervisor (Kirsten Dunst) and lead engineer (Jim Parsons) play their roles close to the opposition that many people of color felt as they fought to be equal. Al Harrison (Kevin Costner), the hardened, on-task head of the Space Task Group is the in-between thought of “well, segregation is still very much prevalent, but perhaps this should be revisited”.

Each actress gets a defining moment where their respective personalities get to shine through their particular problems. It’s not only racism that they have to encounter, it’s also being mothers who have to protect their young children through the climate and women who deal with men and the stereotypical limitations that they place upon them. Director Ted Melfi‘s placement in where each theme feels natural, is a strong point of the movie.

Hidden Figures is an undeniable, feel-good narrative that is applicable to modern times as minority women continue to fight for equal footing, both from a business and racial standpoint. Director Theodore Melfi balanced a serious tone when the movie needs it, but also allows itself to be frank and straightforward with the plights that colored women had to go through.The stories of Katherine Goble, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan were a much needed microcosm in most of the stories that need to be told in concerning black history. Perhaps the history books and silver screen will now include the contributions of three very intelligent black women in one of the crucial periods of scientific prevalence in American history.

With the film’s successes both in execution and the box office, it’s time to see more of these stories told and contribution celebrated.

Main Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

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Author: Murjani Rawls View all posts by
Writer | Photographer | Beast

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