Tony's Take

HIDDEN FIGURES review

Based on the Untold True Story

Everyone knows about NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) history and how they progressed to be the first space program to put a human on the moon.  What you may not know, is that there are a few, influential women that had a dynamic impact in NASA’s success (including one in-particular).  “Hidden Figures” brings their remarkable true story to life of how these African-American women performed their crucial roles: one a mathematical genius, one looking to become the first woman engineer in the history of NASA, and one attempting to get ahead of the curve before her job becomes obsolete.  Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson all held monumental roles in NASA’s success while navigating the divides of race, gender, and professional responsibility to achieve their dreams; and their story has finally been brought to life!

Taraji P. Henson stars as Katherine G. Johnson, a single mother who served as a computer for the missions who help send a man into space and into orbit.  Octavia Spencer plays Dorothy Vaughan, a NASA employee who recognizes her position may be obsolete, so she quickly-devises a plan to save her job.  Janelle Monáe plays Mary Jackson, a NASA employee who hopes to become the first female engineer in the history of the space program.  Kevin Costner plays the fictional Al Harrison, the Program Director for the Mercury flights.  Kirsten Dunst plays a member of NASA’s HR department, Vivian Mitchell.  Jim Parsons plays a brainac computer alongside Katherine, Paul Stafford.  Mahershala Ali continues his impressive 2016 as Col. Jim Johnson.  Aldis Hodge has a brief role as Mary’s husband, Levi Jackson.  Glen Powell plays the great John Glenn.

“Hidden Figures” is a film that divulges into both gender and racial inequalities, but it does so while telling an incredibly-powerful (and lesser-known) tale of one of the most successful operations in our Nation’s history!  The film thrives from its three female leads: Henson, Spencer, and Monáe.  While each of them has their own element to offer the story, they each find themselves in the spotlight throughout the film.  It truly makes it difficult to choose of the three leading women’s performances is your favorite.  “Hidden Figures” also boasts an impressive supporting cast, led-by Costner’s strong performance of equality and acceptance.  The film journeys-into uncomfortable territory at times, showing the harshness of racism and gender inequality as it was experienced by most; not violent, but condescending and rude.  These three brave women not only confronted their situation head-on, but excelled-past it by proving they belong just as much as anybody.  “Hidden Figures” is accompanied by a variety of well-written and catchy songs, produced and performed my Pharrell Williams and other acts; songs that fit the films events and time period as well.  Shining a light on an untold story, the film makes an effort to keep as much fact in the story as possible, providing an entertaining learning experience.  “Hidden Figures” has a run time of 127 minutes which flows smoothly as the story unfolds.  The film serves as a beautiful portrait of the times, as well as a brilliant reminder of how these three groundbreaking women changed the course of NASA’s history!

“Hidden Figures” follows the lives of three African-American NASA employees as they attempt to make a difference while dealing with racial, gender, and professional inequalities.  The film features strong lead performances, an upbeat soundtrack, and a story that details this incredible, but not-widely-known true story.  If you are heading to the movies this weekend, go see “Hidden Figures”!!

 4/5  

HIDDEN FIGURES is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some language, in theaters JANUARY 6TH!

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