Hidden Figures

Houston, no problems here—these women have it all under control!

Moviegoers’ first reactions to seeing “Hidden Figures” will be to ask themselves how did America not already know this incredible true story? This NASA film is an exhilarating and positive narrative deeply rooted to one of our nation’s greatest feats: Successfully launching a human into space to orbit the Earth and return safely. “Hidden Figures” is a feel-good history lesson that needs to be seen to believed.

Director Ted Melfi (“St. Vincent”) gathers an extremely talented ensemble to tell the true NASA story of three brilliant African-American women who played major roles in our nation’s space program during the 1960s. The cast is led by Octavia Spencer, who gives a poignant portrayal as the computer whiz Dorothy Vaughan. But the mathematical genius and rocket fuel behind “Hidden Figures” resides in the purposeful and resilient talents of Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson and Kevin Costner as NASA manager Al Harrison. 

Viewers will be enamored watching this trio of inspiring women fight prejudice in the male-dominated workplace through their skillful persistence and smarts. Each marvelously solving spacecraft launch and recovery math equations to earn the trust of viewers and astronaut John Glenn. Together, they helped our space program and country keep pace with the Soviet Union before charging ahead—ultimately accepting and answering President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to land a man on the moon by that decade’s end.

Yes, it’s about time these pioneering women are no longer hidden from the history books. 

Their encouraging and remarkable story broke the glass ceiling of space. They overcame discrimination and social issues with expertise and talents that couldn’t be ignored or segregated any longer based on their gender or race. In each movie scene, these three women (and the audience) know they’re the smartest minds in the room. It’s how they handle and respond to that knowledge that makes “Hidden Figures” such a compelling and richly satisfying movie experience.

Look for “Hidden Figures” to garner several Academy Award nominations come the morning of Jan. 24. Despite a strong field of leading and supporting actors and actresses in 2016, Octavia Spencer and Taraji P. Hanson have better than even odds to capture nominations. The film also deserves Best Ensemble and Best Picture considerations from all the end-of-the-year awards shows. 

Houston, no problems here—these women have it all under control!

Grade: A

“Hidden Figures” is rated PG for thematic elements and some language. Its running time is 2 hours and 7 minutes.

 

(Patrick King is a resident of Tucson and writer for the REEL BRIEF movie blog at www.reelbrief.com. You may email him at reelbriefmoviereviews@mail.com)

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