Hidden Figures tells the fascinating story of three women who have been overlooked by history with great performances and an easy going confidence that their material is worth it.
Title: Hidden Figures
Director: Theodore Melfi
Summary: Based on a true story. A team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program's first successful space missions.
There are two types of movies that come out in the beginning of January; crap that no one cares about and studios aren't expecting to do well and Oscar bait that finally gets a wide release.Hidden Figures appeared to be the latter as they screened it for critics several weeks ago and sent out a 'for your consideration DVD'. These are the types of movies that don't need to try to be very good. They are covering subject material that people don't know that much about, giving dues to people who haven't received them and they almost always can be subpar and still get by without a second glance. However, the people behind Hidden Figures decided that phoning it in was not on the agenda and set out to make one of the more important movies that will be released this year.
While Moonlight is the movie that everyone is going to remember, it is also independent and a small production. There aren't a lot of people that want to see that kind of movie. Hidden Figures is just as important only it is much more palpable to the movie going audience. This is the crowd pleaser and the crowds are really going to respond to it. The performances by all three of the women are fantastic with Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe all bringing in fantastic performances. Monáe manages to stand out despite being known as a singer and doing almost no acting before this year while going up against two award nominated actresses. Spencer is also fantastic giving us the best burn of the year and Henson shows us why she is so praised for her work on Empire.
The rest of the cast is exactly what you would expect in this sort of movie about racism and sexism. Kevin Costner is the older white man who is enlightened first, while Jim Parsons takes much longer to get there. Kirsten Dunst is on hand as the white woman who doesn't think she's part of the problem and has her eyes opened. It's surrounded by an interesting story about the space program and all of the busy work it took to get John Glenn into orbit. The movie tells the story exactly like it is with the confidence that these stories are interesting enough without needing any extra pomp and circumstance.
Hidden Figures will likely elicit cheers from the audience members that connect the most with these characters, and it is likely going to enter rotation in high schools for teachers to play when they don't want to work. However, it's a movie that didn't need to try and instead put forth the effort to great results.