Film Review: “Hidden Figures” (2016) ★★★★★


It was an unfortunate event when a man tried to take credit for what had been achieved by a woman or had significantly contributed in. When in 1962 Francis Crick was awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA, along with fellow scientists James Watson and Maurice Wilkins, nobody even said a word about Rosalind Franklin, a British biophysicist who not only studied DNA, but provided the required data to Crick and Watson to complete their study.

Theodore Melfi’s film is not about taking credits, but about the role of a woman in society where certain job, wrongly of course, is believed can be done only by men. This movie brings to light a significant, hidden in the shadow of the past, figures that have marvellously provided mathematical data needed to launch the program’s first successful space mission. Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) have brilliant minds. Their ability is endless when the opportunity is given. And when that happens, they simply leave everyone behind – because they are fearless, strong, ambitious, knowledgeable and unstoppable in the world, where they were the subject of discrimination.

Al Harrison is a director at NSA whose first responsibility is to gather the most intelligent people with mathematical abilities to help execute the first space mission. It also shows that the United States back then were way behind the Soviet, when Russians were able to launch the rocket while Americans struggled to find the right calculation. However, that issue was quickly eliminated when Katherine G. Johnson joined the team. Despite being in the room where only white people were allowed, Johnson swiftly earns the reputation of a brilliant mathematician who can easily provide the calculation as soon as the new data arrives.

To be fair, she would not have been able to advance further if not for Al Harrison’s (Kevin Costner) support, who did not see Johnson as a colored woman, but rather as an important and crucial asset who was smarter than anyone in the room. It’s his confidence in her and his unconditional support that gives enough trust to Johnson to not lose her faith in herself. Octavia Spencer’s Dorothy Vaughan works in the west side of NASA’s building, where she leads a group of women who also help the team to launch the space mission. Dorothy, afterwards might have a slight confrontation with her direct supervisor, Vivian Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst) who tries to get a deserved promotion as a supervisor. But when she realizes that the IBM computers are about to take out their jobs, she starts studying it proving that no matter how intelligent the computer is, it’s the human factor and abilities that are more important than artificial intelligence.

Hidden Figures is a delightful movie to watch. It’s intelligent, straight forward and has extremely rich characters for whom you will be cheering for throughout the movie. Their vibrancy, wisdom and strong will was an important aspect of the movie, where you would, without a doubt, appreciate the actors’ hard work in portraying them. Kevin Costner as Al Harrison and Octavia Spencer are great as usual, where both of them should have been jailed for stealing every scene they were in. But the credit should also go to Janelle Monáe and Taraji P. Henson, whose dedication and approach to the characters they played was simply outstanding.

In conclusion, Hidden Figures is an important movie to watch. It shows in facts that to ride the rocket was difficult, of course, but to launch the mission itself was almost impossible. It certainly required team effort, dedication and determination, which every single character appears in the movie had. It is also, in a way, an entertaining and educational movie, which I am sure you will certainly love. So if you like movies where the defining moment of history unfolds, then Hidden Figures should be one of the first choices to see, as another great example where we always have to remember: without an engine you can’t never move the car, and that means there are always hidden figures whose name you might never heard of, but stand behind that engine that will allow you to enjoy the advanced technologies, without whom, this would not be possible.



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