“Hidden Figures” Review

7 February, 2017

Director: Theodore Melfi
Screenwriter: Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder
Director of Photography: Mandy Walker
Cast: Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe

Synopsis: The true story of three African-American women working for NASA in the early 1960s who become key players in a ground-breaking mission to send the first American astronaut into space.

Hidden Figures Review:

A delicate mix of brains and brawn, “Hidden Figures” reconstructs an unstable time period with great attention to detail, eradicating all trace of the modern world through its focus on blatant racism and the ripples of state-wide segregation. Turning back the clock on over half a century of progress, the film allows context to influence performance, presenting a group of women forced into subservience who always find a way to purge through humour, determination, and productiveness. To be downtrodden is to be weak and “Hidden Figures” doesn’t break or beat down its leading ladies, it simply opens up the space for them to prove themselves as individual talents.

The movie features a stunning performance from Taraji P. Henson who easily outshines Academy favourite Octavia Spencer in her role as the mathematician whose hard work and dedication becomes crucial to the outcome of the space program. While Spencer becomes the glue of the group in scenes where they are placed together, Janelle Monáe blossoms into a notable on-screen presence, eradicating all trace of her music industry career through a radiant interpretation of a real-life engineer who fought the system to get the education she deserved.


While undoubtedly narrow in its presentation of history, “Hidden Figures” is smart and sassy and the film earns its social message through comedy as the writers allow humour to extend beyond the banter shared between the main trio. Instead of sneering in the direction of the past, the creators seek goodness amongst chaos, making “Hidden Figures” universally appealing with gags about spies, underdogs, and burgeoning romance. The movie is as preachy as viewers allow it to be and only patronising to those unable to fall in love with a story that easily exceeds the entertainment value of a standard historical think piece.

 

   

Summary
Review Date
Movie
Hidden Figures
Rating
41star1star1star1stargray