Heading into the weekend I made the decision to review the historical drama “Hidden Figures”.
I had planned on seeing the film as a moviegoer, but the timing of the holiday moved me to review it as a journalist.
After viewing the movie, and soaking it in, I hereby declare this film to be a a serious contender for a number of of Academy Awards.
This experience was up there with Rocky, Good Will Hunting, or even Driving Ms Daisy.
I don’t wish to address certain plot points, a movie like this does not need spoilers of any kind, this particular piece of art is a mandatory obligation to anyone who truly enjoys the story of the underdog, so I trust many of you will act accordingly.
But I would like to size up the production in total.
The concept of multiple female leads took a beating this past summer when Ghostbusters stunk out the joint.
Perhaps this film will change the ridiculous perception that such a movie cannot work.
The film has beat Star Wars Rogue One two weeks in a row for a haul of $60 million against a $25 million dollar budget.
The low budget flick dethroned a billion dollar franchise on opening weekend, so much for the notion that multiple female leads doesn’t work.
The performances within the film are terrific, the 3 talented women charged with leading this film have produced the performance of their lives, and it would not bother me in the least if all 3 of them are battling each other for awards in the months to come.
Taraji P. Henson sets the screen on fire as Katherine Johnson, from caring for her children in the face of tragedy, to all the nonsene she has to put up at work, her take is heartwarming, you feel as if you are fighting with her.
Octavia Spencer nails Dorothy Vaughan as the film chronicles her quest to be a supervisor, and Janelle Monáe’s take on Mary Jackson is comic relief mixed with southern elbw grease, her stubborness takes the character all the way to court as she fights for her education, and her opportunity to be an engineer.
Hidden Figures tells the extraordinary story of the first African American women to work for NASA, and they obstacles the they had to overcome to achieve their dreams, and change the social direction of the space program.
These women were not cheerleaders, they were brilliant scientists that changed with the world with humility, love, and academic excellence.
Lost in the inspiring performances of the 3 leads, is the large group of African women they work with, who struggle right alongside them as the story unfolds.
The tone of the film is stunningly accurate, a perfect glimpse into pre civil rights America, a place where the term “colored” was common, and the application of separatism was real.
This film did not shy away from the ugliness African Americans faced socially.
Different bathrooms, different coffee makers, different water foutains, a special section of the library, these women are reminded throughout the movie that they are less than full citizens while they work on one of the most important projects in American history.
The staff at NASA also does not exactly warm up to the idea of “colored” women making a serious impact on the space program, some of the more cringe worthy moments are produced by the colleagues of the protagonists.
The different scenes are a stern reminder of how disgusting this country once was socially, how widespread ignorance could be if we allow it.
I will never look at Kirsten Dunst the same way again after this film, and that is a testament to her ability to perform.
The grace under fire is what makes the movie special, you find yourself cheering for these women as they make history, you marvel at their optimism in the face of hate.
Kevin Costner’s performance was perfect, his brand of leadership, and his clear tolerance for “colored” people defines the film down the stretch.
The artistic apects of the movie are glorious.
The costumes are authentic to the letter, the score is uplifting, and actual NASA footage gives the film a retro feel.
Nothing is rushed, the story is comprehensive, the execution practically is flawless.
The film builds towards it’s emotional climax through the eyes of the 3 heros, while their individual journeys are different, they all remain dedicated to the ultimate mission.
Putting a man in space, and advancing opportunites not just for colored women, but all women in science.
This story is not only about women, this is about America, and the wonderful stories that exsit within our own history.
Men, women, and children should see this movie, you will be better for it I promise.
A virtuoso piece of cinema, and when you do go see it, bring some tissue paper.
You will cry tears of joy, sadness, and anger.
What more can you ask for from a movie?