As much as positivity is key to progression… America is looking like a hot mess right now with misogyny, further racial division and major class issues… in 2017 we need films like Hidden Figures to educate the uneducated. Based on a true story, I’m so annoyed that this isn’t something I had heard about before… this is a MAJOR key alert!! Director Theodore Melfi really should have won best picture with this. Although socially the 60’s are a shambles I can’t help but love the aesthetic and vibe, the costumes were dreamy alongside the cars featured in the film which makes cars these days look like a pile of shit.
Set in 1961, three African American NASA mathematicians are the reason we are exploring space the way we are now. These women faced two major challenges, first they are women and second they aren’t white women. One thing I really picked up on during the film is that it wasn’t so much about racial slurs thrown in the script which I actually expected but they didn’t need to do that… It was the looks characters would exchange and social arrangement I found astonishing. The professional environment even today is dominated by men so I can’t even imagine being around back in the 60’s. The film opens up as the three ladies are on their commute to work however pulled up on the side due to Dorothy’s (played by Octavia Spencer) unreliable car. We meet the comedy the trio shower us with as Dorothy threatens the others they are more than welcome to ride the back of the bus to work.
Taraji P. Henderson plays Katherine G. Johnson our lead with effortless and unstoppable comedic timing. Though the film showcases the ignorant reality of the 60’s I feel like comedy is the best way to combat this and I did find majority of the audience members laughing at the idiocy of the times which restored my faith in humanity… just slightly. Henderson’s portrayal of Johnson was admirable and incredibly brave, to keep going in an environment and society that doesn’t want you to she did it and she did it better than anyone. Not to mention Taraji P. Henderson had to write up in the alien language of maths… I’m not sure if she had to remember this or what but however she learnt her lines she’s a god.
Behind all the magic of NASA we have the mathematicians known as “computers” although men didn’t think highly of women they certainly let them do the most important jobs… Oh the irony! Racially segregated we have the coloured computer rooms and the white computer rooms… alongside separate water fountains and toilets… Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan challenges authority and takes control of anything they throw at her. It is insane to think that Vaughan had to break her back working the role of a supervisor without being paid correctly because the role didn’t even exist for the coloured computer room. Kirsten Dunst plays Vivian Mitchell who’s plays a general supervisor and the white women who did work at NASA annoyed me the most. They faced misogyny from men themselves therefore how could they even consider being racist?! I can’t see how they actually thought they were in the right or worse they knew they were wrong but persisted anyway… some of the scenes I literally wanted to dive into the screen and do something!
Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson is another heap of inspiration. In a scene where she sheds self doubt in becoming the first black female NASA engineer a fellow college tells her that he is a man who lost his parents to the Nazi concentration camps and now he’s building rockets, something he thought would never happen! That sense of belief now kicks in and we see her go for her dreams. She also has to fight for the right to study which she finally gains for her teacher to establish that the curriculum wasn’t made for females… Don’t worry she tells him! Mahershala Ali pops up as Johnson’s love interest as she was a widow left with 3 of the cutest little girls and we see her receive her happy ending… just wanted to cry so cute 😦
Another character I enjoyed was Kevin Costner as Al Harrison who leads the task group into putting a man into orbit. He puts aside all negativity and strives to find the talent in anybody and everybody. He is confused as to why Johnson disappears from her desk numerous amounts of time a day, we as the audience know she has been running to the other side of the NASA compound to simply use the toilet. This leads to a confrontation where Taraji P. Henderson gives such a perfect speech saying there are no bathrooms available for her in the building as they are for whites only. We then see Harrison hack down the “coloured only” bathroom sign and he says “everyone as NASA pee’s the same colour” HELL YEAH obv that didn’t do much but it was a bold step to make and I enjoyed it.
This is probably one of the longest things I have written and I could write more but how about you just all go and see it if you haven’t because it is SO worth it!