Hidden Figures Reviews
Certainly, the true events on which Hidden Figures is based didn't unfold so breezily in real life and the actual hidden figures themselves didn't enjoy such a breezy journey. This is a film meant to fuel the soul of all filmgoers, however, especially women and people of color. Its intent is to raise the spirits--not look back in abject anger. This is why their story has been re-purposed as a crowd-pleaser. With a PG rating, it is meant to be accessible. If it encourages action as well, this is only a good thing. But Hidden Figures's main purpose is to inform, honor, and celebrate, which the film does with great dignity and grace.
Adapted from the book by Margot Lee Shetterly, Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi's screenplay provides the perfect template for this successful rendering. The casting only sweetens the pot. Spectacular turns by veterans Henson and Spencer as well as relative newcomer Monae (a breakout role, to be sure) drive the strong narrative. The great supporting performances of Kevin Costner, Jim Parson, and Mahershala Ali likewise deserve mention but this is definitely the ladies' show. As director, Melfi has pulled off a ridiculously impressive feat. Not only does Joan Q. Filmgoer learn about some criminally overlooked figures from American history, but she feels pretty damn good about doing so.
To Sum It Up: All Plusses, No Minuses
This biographical drama, based on a true story, weaves together a romance, white/black relations, and science. I wasn't sure how successfully it managed to achieve a balance between all three of these elements, and how accurate the depictions and sentiments were. Nonetheless this is an entertaining and informative film, and I especially enjoyed its retro feel.
In the light of the recent Oscar nominations I've started my yearly goal of watching every single full-feature film fiction before the ceremony. The last two years I've been successful at this task and I figure this time it will be no different. To keep you updated in my task, I'll post reviews in almost every film nominated this year, including films I've seen quite a while ago and that I didn't have time to write a review about. Shifting now my attention to the movie in cause, I have to say that, from the movies nominated, this seems like one of the weaker offers. Despite rating Deadpool just a little higher, I'd be quicker to nominate it for Best Picture first (same with Civil War, Silence, Zootopia, etc.). Despite this, I get why this was nominated as it's almost an obligation to the Academy to nominate films that perpetuate anti-racist messages, especially under the new president. You have to understand that a film's right to be nominated for best picture isn't based solely on the quality of it. With a Best Picture nom often comes a lot of visibility to the film and, consequently, to the matter in question. That's why many studios spend some under the table money to get their features nominated, as they know they'll make back that amount and way more. So, there's a social conscience rescuing this movie from falling flat and from being goldless. In fact, this movie's success pivots around the plot and makes me think why haven't I heard this story sooner. It's an excellent story revolving around a smart script that matches it. The performances are all solid but I was expecting them to be better. Octavia Spencer gives one good performance but a quite manageable too, judging from most of her filmography. I find that she didn't quite deserve her nomination and many performers could have had her spot, though it's amusing to see Viola and Spencer nominated again, the former winning this time around. It also has a strong supporting cast, with Jim Parsons, Kevin Kostner and, especially, Kristen Dunst. However, there's something too neat about the film's directing, editing and cinematography. The director doesn't take many chances, he shoots a scene like any other person would and in this case I don't mind it so much, but it leaves edginess to be desired, that extra excitement that should come from watching a movie for the first time. Ultimately, it's a very good movie that would have been better if it hadn't relied so much on its release date and important plot. It's one of those movies that you should see as a citizen of the world, not much as a cinephile.. .
One way that "Hidden Figures" tried to inspire was by inspiring women and young girls to go for a career in math and science. In the movie not only did the three main women have to face and get through the racism that was still present but they had to face sexism that was still just as much of an issue. It was believed that women aren't as smart as men and that they were meant to just raise a family, clean, and cook. Hidden Figures shows girls that a career in such field as math or science is possible and that they can make a difference. Actor Aldis Hodge said "I love the fact that a lot of these girls are now getting support for their interest.", though his role in the movie that quite small he still gets to witness the difference this film is making. The screenwriters even snuck a little hint towards inspiring women in these careers into the dialogue. The character Karl Zielinski says "a person with an engineer's mind should be an engineer." this was towards a black female character, Mary Jackson, who was struggling following her dreams.
If it wasn't for this movie then the stories of these women probably would be unknown to all. If some people did know of them before the movie that's amazing but it just isn't enough. These women did extraordinary work and made huge breakthroughs in history. Honestly if it wasn't for their hard work and calculations the space launch could have failed or even been delayed. The directors found it important to show what they did to the world using the big screen and by adding slight humor to it. Obviously the movie isn't exactly accurate but it still accomplishing showing the work of these women. Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan are all now recognizable names.
Although this movie added humor and made it a nice family film, the subtle racism and sexism behind are made apparent to adults or older people. When irritated the character Mary Jackson says "Every time we get a chance to get ahead they move the finish line." this really shows how much harder they had to work just to do what a white man could have done in half the time it takes the black women. It shows just how strong and brave they are because they still tried and never let anybody stop them. Knowing the struggles they had to go through while just doing their job and trying to help their country makes it even more amazing.
This movie is just as important as it is entertaining. The writers accomplished a lot by making it funny and cute while still addressing the problems they faced. Everybody who worked on this movie hopes that it will, inspire, bring the hidden stories to light, and show the struggles these girls had to face. It's important to know these things so we can have an appreciation for the hidden heroes. Which sometimes are the most important ones. Some would say it's the perfect movie, entertaining for all ages, has an important message, and funny.
Why are you still reading this? Go watch it!
Well acted, well written, with interesting characters and a great pace.