Hello kids. For this week’s review, I am going after Hidden Figures, the movie about 3 black women who helped revolutionize the space program and get John Glen into the final frontier. In short, this is a great movie. Why you may ask? Well, let’s jump into it.
Story: As I said, this film follows the lives of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson as they work with NASA in the early 1960s and help the US space program compete and surpass the Soviet space program. The story shows their struggles as black women dealing with the injustices from both within NASA and outside in their daily lives. That being said, the story is presented in a much more uplifting way than other films would (which makes sense considering its PG rating) and leaves audience members feeling happy and excited for these ladies’ successes. As a whole, the story is great but when looking at the micro-level, the multiple story lines get slightly confusing and cumbersome.
Acting: The stars of the show here are Taraji Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae and they are no less than great in their roles. The trio plays their parts well and convey the emotions of their characters well in their performances but unfortunately never take that next step from great to amazing. While I believe that blame is to be put on the script, its still a fact (an unfortunate one at that) that none of them will be winning Oscars for these roles. In the supporting cast, Kevin Costner is good but honestly no different than previous roles and the rest of the cast, highlighted by Kirsten Dunst and Mahershala Ali, are pretty lifeless. It feels like they came to set, recorded their lines once, and then left. Kind of a shame since those two are pretty great in other roles. Oh well.
Presentation: The movie looks good and (with the period music) feels like the 1960s. Additionally, they take time to show all the space stuff, from suits to rockets to capsules, and anyone who loves that stuff will love that attention to detail. Unfortunately, they ruin it with the wonderful use of stock footage. I understand using footage for famous broadcasts from figures like JFK or MLK but shifting from stock footage to the stuff they filmed for this movie is annoying and breaks the immersion.
Effect: Faults aside, this is a pretty great movie. It is a good reminder of not only where we were as a country 50 years ago and how the struggles of a few helped better the country as a whole but also shows how we had to come together to solve the greatest problems that we faced and I believe both of those messages are important for Americans in 2017.
Other: My final fault is that this film is a little over two hours and yet could probably have been cut by about 15 minutes. There were times where the movie grinds to a halt before getting back to speed. Luckily it doesn’t take away too much from the film but it is important to note nonetheless.
Wrapping dis up, this is a movie that I think everyone should go see at some point. If you don’t get around to it while it’s in theaters, then be sure to find it on DVD (and by DVD I mean Blu-Ray) or the streaming device of your choice.