Hidden Figures (PG)

Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, Hidden Figures tells the story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson (respectively), three African American women who worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and were instrumental in helping America “win”the Space Race against the former Soviet Union.

For me, this movie is an instant classic; a film I will watch again and again. It is a movie I will encourage everyone to go and see regardless of age, gender or ethnicity.  The story has something for everyone because it not only includes the story of these three amazing women, but it also includes the simultaneous storyline featuring the recently dearly departed American hero, John Glenn and the Space Race.  This is not just a “girl’s movie.”  The entire audience applauded and cheered when the movie ended (and it was packed for a 9:15 a.m. showing).

The subject matter is important for all Americans to see. Men should see it so they gain a better understanding about what women have had to deal with in male dominated industries, up to and including in the present day.  Children and adults should see it so they understand that despite any and all obstacles life may hand you or throw at you, there are ways to achieve what you want through preparation, hard work, patience and perseverance.  And sometimes you have to pay attention, so you can see what is coming and get in front of it to create your own opportunity.  It is important for non-black people to see this movie so they may gain a better understanding about the problems that persist today in America between whites and blacks and get a glimpse inside of a piece of the African American experience.  It is important for black people to see this movie to remind us of the good stock we come from and to never short-change ourselves.  Much of our past in America has been “hidden,” but our contributions are far too numerous and significant to ever stay buried.  It is important young girls who have an aptitude for science, technology, engineering and mathematics see this movie so they understand what the women who paved the way had to go through, because not only did these women break racial barriers,  they broke gender barriers.  It is important for all Americans to know the names I never learned and I’m sure are still not being taught in school; Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.  This movie is important.

What works in favor of this movie (along with so many other things) is that not many people had ever heard of or ever seen these women until recently. The problem of casting people who look like historical figures doesn’t exist here, so talent could be hired strictly on the basis of chemistry, fit and talent.  Kudos to all who were involved in the casting.  Golden Globe nominated Octavia Spencer was great.  She does what Octavia Spencer always does – ever the consummate professional – she always delivers.  The majority of the performances were excellent, but Taraji P. Henson steals the show and earned an Oscar nomination here.  You will laugh at her and she will genuinely bring you to tears.  Her character, Katherine G. Johnson, is so likeable.  She is humble and outspoken when she needs to be and balances her emotions in a segregated, prejudiced, sexist workplace like a champion.  She is smart, confident, ladylike, determined, and did I mention smart?  I am so proud of Taraji.  It is her time.

It was almost as if the music were a character on its own because it gave so much depth to the film. All the songs were very thoughtful.  You cannot go wrong with a musical team that includes Benjamin Wallfisch, Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer.  Every song fit right where it was supposed to and relayed exactly what it was supposed to.  The wardrobe, hair and makeup were done well.  The cinematography was lovely.  The movie was well directed with the proper mix of drama, supense and humor.  My only complaint would be that the writing for Katherine’s children was sappy and a bit corny.

Hidden Figures earned 9 out of 10 bloops – loosing an entire bloop for that bit of weak, sappy writing. Also, there are a few schmaltzy words/expressions/intonations that couldn’t be overlooked.  The cast does some strong acting overall, and Taraji P. Henson is excellent here with her acting earning 10 out of 10 bloops all day long.  The music is perfect.  It is a family film you can see with your children or your grandparents that you will all enjoy.  The subject matter is important, interesting, educational, and it is part of our American history that unfortunately is still quite relevant.

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

My Welcome Message

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