A Powerful biographic tale of three female African-American mathematicians in the 1960s.
Just think about those words for a second, and every racial stereotype ever while you are at it. Hidden Figures is the moving tale of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson. Three women who overcame every kind of possible prejudice and manages to make solid careers in NASA. It is based on a book by Margot Lee Shetterly called: “Hidden Figures. The Story of the African-American women who helped win the space race”
Among the cast we find Taraj P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae in the lead roles as these three women, and in the supporting cast we have big names like Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons, Kirsten Dunst and Mahershala Ali. The one to notice is definitely Octavia Spencer. She is phenomenal in the role NASA Supervisor Dorothy Vaughn. You can feel her uncomfortable chemistry with Kirsten Dunst as her supervisor, and the chemistry between Spencer Henson and Monae is both touching and inspiring.
The film is directed by Theodore Melfi who also served as a producer and scriptwriter and he does a pretty great job. This movie educates you in a part of US history that was very important. He manages to capture the racial and sexist stereotypes that was in America in the 1960s and he does it so well. There is a scene where Katherine is pouring herself a cup of coffee and the entire room goes quiet and the day after they had put up another can of coffee for “Coloured” people. We can’t imagine how the racism towards intelligent african-american women must have been back then and Melfi manages to tell just how awful it was without the typical violent racism that Hollywood often thrives in doing.
It is quite the pretty film to watch. They have done some amazing job on the costume design and sets here. You can feel the stressful atmosphere of NASA and the headaches they had with the space program, and you can feel the judgement when Mary Jackson goes to court to try to get access to an All White University so she can become NASA’s first female engineer. She was a pretty cool lady.
The score of this film is spectacular. Written by Hans Zimmer and Pharrel Williams and really manages to capture the 1960s. Plenty of catchy tunes and a majestic soundtrack that really manages to fit in to the excitement of the space race.
Hidden Figures is a film important to see for two central reasons. 1. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson was awesome and powerful women that overcame every prejudice ever on race and gender and their stories are worth knowing.
And 2. It is a feel good film. It is a beautiful portrait of the friendship and struggle these women had to go through. And it is an amazing piece of cinematic storytelling