‘We get to the peak together, or we don’t get there at all’
Inspired by the true events of America’s efforts during the space race, Hidden Figures is the story of three remarkable women and the way they contributed to the success of the NASA program. Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae star as the three African American women who worked as computers at NASA, who must struggle against the sexism and racism that plagued that time period. These women played a vital role in the advancement of the space program in particular the mission that saw John Glenn travel around the planet in orbit. The film also stars Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons, Kirsten Dunst, Marhershala Ali and Glen Powell and is nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
The cast of this movie has an incredible chemistry, which makes sense that they won best Cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Taraji P Henson is fantastic in the lead role as Katherine Johnson and is well supported by Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughn and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson. Monáe is the only one to not be nominated at the Oscars but she is a show stealer as the fiery, passionate quick talking engineer. She dominates many of her scenes with funny one-liners and in particular when she is talking about equality or attractive men. Together these three women make this movie the heart-warming experience it is, with their great relationship based around struggles, science, humour and family. It is due to their ability as actresses that the story works as well as it does, and does not come off as a preachy film pushing an agenda.
We see great performances from Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons, who it is great to see branching out from The Big Bang Theory. Though Parsons plays an intelligent man who can be arrogant and annoying it is still a different style of character. He is a man caught up in the way of the world, women play their role and women of colour are treated a certain way. Kevin Costner gives a strong performance as the senior NASA official who would over-look race and gender if it meant beating the Russians to space. He is able to see the in order to progress forward we need to stop living in the past. The one character that felt under done was Marhershala Ali, as he was not given much screen time due to being a supporting character. His relationship with Taraji P Henson was a part of her story but not vital to the plot so he was not fully developed causing the audience to feel disconnected. This does not detract from the story though as the relationship does not define Henson’s character.
The strength of this film is the cultural impact it plays, in particular with its relevance in modern society, and it conveys its message without making the audience uncomfortable. Racism and Sexism should make the audience uncomfortable but certain films like 12 Years a Slave and Birth of a Nation affect viewers to the point that it can be too difficult to watch the film. These films use violence and offensive language to demonstrate the problems with the world, Hidden Figures does not rely on these things. Hidden Figures does a fantastic job of highlighting the obsolete belief in segregation based on colour and gender, summed up perfectly by Kevin Costner’s character when he states ‘We get to the peak together, or we don’t get there at all.’ The biggest impact taken away from the movie is the concept of ‘that’s the way things are’ or ‘its how it is’ which is executed perfectly as we see people act as though they are not racist since it is just the times. The film itself is not preachy or ‘anti-white’ it is just the true story of some extraordinary women who had to struggle harder based on the colour of their skin and the fact they are women.
Hidden Figures is a beautiful true story that will make you laugh, will shock you and will blow your mind. The film may lack the overly artistic feel that many of the other movies nominated for Best Picture share it is still an incredibly entertaining and rewarding film. It would be easy to pass this off as a nice movie but it is so much more. This is the movie that people should see due it its historical and cultural significance, and its relevance to what is going on in the world today.
Hidden Figures scored a HD with 90%
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