I love movies. I love writing about them. Hope you like reading what I write.
This might be my engineer Grandfather’s next favourite movie.
Hidden Figures tells the so-far little-known true story of some of the black female mathematicians who were instrumental in NASA’s space race.
I’m just going to get this out of the way, what you think happens in this movie. His is a super formulaic film. The heroes show that they’re good at maths, but the people at NASA don’t like black people or girls doing well so there’s lots of infighting and some of them get turned around. It’s a tried and tested method and I’ve got no problem with it.
Complaining about formulae is like complaining about physics. It’s there and for all the shortcomings it does the job.
We get one major change from most civil rights style films. That change being the minority members taking an active role in the seeking of the change they need to see in the world. On top of that, all of the white characters, including the otherwise forward-thinking boss played by Kevin Costner all have at least an undertone of prejudice that has to be challenged. I really like that.
The three ladies we follow are played by Taraji P. Henso, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae. They are extremely charming throughout and even when we appear to go into cheesy territory, my heart still manages to stay on the right side of warm.
The maths that is presented in Hidden Figures, as complicated as it really was, is not too hard for the audience and while it may be dumbed down, it never feels patronising.
If I had a real issue with this film, it would be that the allusions to the civil rights movement are a little too fleeting. It’s a bit of a nitpick, but I wish that there was a way to integrate them a bit more into the plot.
Overall though, this is a solid, if familiar, piece of exciting black cinema. Wait, it was written and directed by white people? Huh…
Recommended Scenario: If you’re into maths and a little heart.