Saturday, February 25, 2017
Hidden Figures is the feel good film of the Oscar season. It's part of my #Oscarwatch2017 and whilst I cannot see it winning any Oscars, it is certainly winning the hearts of a lot of people.
It is the story of three NASA technicians or computers as they are called. They are women of 'colour' and super smart and super sassy.
Whilst a true story, apparently a bit of liberty was taken with the time line, to bring the three characters together more than the reality and a little bit closer to the actual orbit of Glenn.
They each have their own area of expertise, but all are of exceptional intelligence, especially Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), whose genius mathematical brain got her moved to the section that worked on John Glenn's trajectory in his first space orbit. The only woman on the team, she caused quite a fuss until they saw her mind in action.
Katherine is also a single mother of three, you just see her breaking every barrier there is at the time, not easily of course, but it was amazing to see.
Octavia Spencer is Dorothy, who is supervising a large group of women, hidden is a separate area for blacks. Constantly hassling her own supervisor (an uptight Kirsten Dunst) about being paid and actually classified as a supervisor. She also takes it upon herself to learn computers, as in 1961 they were starting to impact on her work. Remarkable stuff!
Janelle Monae is Mary, a would be engineer, who eventually becomes the first African American to gain such credentials.
The story also follows John Glenn in his race to orbit the earth.
Hidden Figures is a film about space travel, intellectual minds in that very early stage of computers, and of course, race. The racism is subtle, but probably more likely the basic everyday racism people suffered in the workplace. Not the violent full on racism you often see in film. And this subtle racism, really packs a punch.
A well made film, with a great uplifting feel to it, without being saccharine or too sugary.