Hidden Figures is the story of three little known women who played a crucial role in the early days of the US space program. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe were all wonderful in their roles; each bringing specific personalities to their characters.Taraji P. Henson is a mathematics wunderkind who is called upon to assist in calculating the math requires for launches and recoveries. A single mother of three daughters, she graciously and calmly works through the difficulties of being a lone black woman in a department full of white men in the racially segregated state of Virginia. Her calmness breaks in one scene and she wonderfully states, quite loudly, the obstacles she is forced to endure and overcome. This is quite a contrast from her normally calm dignity. As a side story, she is also involved in a burgeoning romantic relationship and she shows another totally side of herself - that of a shy, demure woman, which she carries off perfectly.Octavia Spencer, a very strong actress, does a wonderful job as a black woman with the responsibilities of a supervisor that she is not allowed to have the title or compensation for. She deals with her supervisor, Kirsten Dunst, with patience and tolerance and delivers what I think was the finest line in the film in response to Dunst's comment that, "I have nothing against y'all." Spencer replies, "I know you probably believe that." Surrounding me in the auditorium was a subdued murmur of knowing assent and acknowledgment from the audience. Clearly, the black moviegoers all have had that thought, probably more often than one would like to think. As a white male, the sounds of the audience gave me pause and had great impact. That line, alone, made this movie worth seeing.Janelle Monáe plays a woman with the talent to be a NASA engineer, who has to jump through hoops to get there. She provides the bit of lightness that keeps this film lighter than the topic may generally have dictated.Without exception, the supporting cast excels - from Kevin Costner, the boss who just wants to get the job done and tolerates no impediments; to Jim Parsons, the engineer who always insists on following the rules - NASA's as well as his personal rules based on his biases; to Mahershala Ali, who plays Henson's love interest.This movie is well worth viewing on many levels - as history, as a treatise on segregation and race relations, and as an example of how determination can overcome the most difficult of obstacles.Not only was this an excellent film; it was also a film that I was glad I saw.
Biography Drama History
As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Based on the unbelievably true life stories of three of these women, known as "human computers", we follow these women as they quickly rose the ranks of NASA alongside many of history's greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and guaranteeing his safe return. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.
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March 24, 2017 at 8:12 am