‘Hidden Figures’ Blasts Off as the Crowd-Pleaser of the Winter

Hidden Figures

The moment Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon, America began mythologizing its victory in the Space Race over the Soviet Union. Led by the soaring rhetoric of the late President John F. Kennedy, America showed its technological and moral superiority over the Soviets, reclaiming that little bit of national innocence that was lost following the assassination of JFK and the political turmoil of the ‘60s. As the victors, America was able to create its own narrative about its victory in the Space Race, one that overshadowed the sins that loom over our nation to this very day despite the fact that so many want to pretend that it has all been left in the past – systematic racism.

Hard as we try as a nation to pretend that the collective work of countless people that put a man on the Moon wasn’t corrupted by some of the darkest elements of our history doesn’t change the fact that, like everything else we hold dear in America, it was. For three black women working for NASA in Virginia during the early ‘60s, their talents were overlooked in the time of segregation. For this trio of women, the glass ceiling was reinforced with the rusted iron bars of systematic racism. Their story is now the subject of the film from director Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures, which proves to be the crowd-pleaser of the winter, a historical tale told with pathos and ample humor. It’s a movie that reminds us that America is at its best when living up to the pluralistic standards that we as a nation all too often find elusive, but remains the benchmark by which we should strive.

Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) is a mathematical genius, one capable of handling complex forms of arithmetic with ease. Along with Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), Katherine works at a segregated office in Virginia aiding in the computation of the math that will send American astronauts into space. This trio of capable women aren’t presented with a fair chance in a society that sees them as second class citizens, as evidenced by Dorothy’s attempts to get promoted to the position of supervisor despite having been performing the job for over a year. When the Soviets are able to launch Sputnik and follow that up with sending Yuri Gararin into space, NASA is working overtime to get Americans into space. Katherine is moved into the top secret corner of NASA in order to double check the calculations of the engineers. Working under the stern eye of Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) and his underling Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons), Katherine must battle the inherent racism and sexism of her coworkers as they work to launch Alan Shepard (Dane Davenport) and finally John Glenn (Glen Powell) into outer space.

On top of just the basic obstacle of overcoming prejudices to contribute to send an American into space, Katherine is also a widow and mother of three. With the help of her mother and the church, she’s able to work the long hours and still provide for her children. Eventually, Katherine starts seeing Jim Johnson (Mahershala Ali) and the two share an immediate connection. Meanwhile, Dorothy still struggles for her constant hard work to be acknowledged by her icy cold supervisor Vivian Michael (Kirsten Dunst) as Mary must face legal hurdles in order to get the schooling required to become an engineer herself.

The trio of leading ladies make Hidden Figures an absolute delight. Taraji P. Henson gives an assured performance, one that starts out with an incredibly meek Katherine that gains confidence as her work consistently proves her invaluable worth. There’s a real delicate balance that Henson strikes with the role. Octavia Spencer brings a quality of assured professionalism to her role of Dorothy, a character that won’t rest on her laurels waiting for a chance that won’t ever come. Of all the lines that garnered laughter or applause, Spencer has the one that earned the biggest reaction when calmly informing Vivian that she is in fact quite prejudiced. The biggest surprise of Hidden Figures is Janelle Monáe. The popstar is a firecracker as Mary Jackson, often carrying herself with a no nonsense attitude that electrifies the screen. Between this and her role in Moonlight, Janelle Monáe has quickly proven that she is a fantastic actress and one of the breakout stars of 2016.

Hidden Figures is a pure crowd-pleaser, one that strikes a deft balance between its ample humor and the historical drama. In adapting the book by Margot Lee Shetterly, Theodore Melfi and co-writer Allison Schroder find comedy and inspiration in a movie that dares you not to love it. Of course there are obvious moments of embellishment to craft a better narrative than history provided, but when it works as well as it does here there’s little to complain about in regards of true accuracy. Hidden Figures is a movie with big laughs, moments that inspire rapturous applause, and those moments that tug on the heartstrings. This is a movie that finds Melfi hitting the notes that he was aiming for with his middling St. Vincent, a massive leap in the right direction.

Shop Deadpool tees in our officially licensed Marvel store!

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Disjointed Netflix
Netflix’s ‘Disjointed’ is a Comedy About Dope for Dopes

In a 1999 stand-up comedy special, David Cross had a lengthy...

Kill Switch
‘Kill Switch’ is an Imperfect Ninety Minute Cut Scene on Blu-Ray

Kill Switch, Tim Smit’s directorial debut, is a ninety minute cut-scene,...

Killing Hasselhoff
‘Killing Hasselhoff’ DVD Giveaway!

David Hasselhoff is having himself a pretty good year. He had...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
This Week In Gaming News August 12th to 18th 2017

Gaming News will be streamlined into a weekly piece starting next...

Telltale's Batman: The Enemy Within
Telltale’s Batman: The Enemy Within Episode One Available Now

Define your own Bruce Wayne and reshape The Joker in the...

atgames
AtGames Announces Pre-orders for New Atari 2600 and Sega Genesis

Pre-orders started for the new Atari Flashback 8 Gold and Sega...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
viz
VIZ Media Announces New Digital Manga Content For August Update

VIZ Media details digital manga updates for August highlighted by the...

viz
VIZ Media Announces New Manga and Literary Acquisitions At Anime Expo

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a premier company in the fields of...

9.0/10
Supergirl Makes Contact in ‘Supergirl Being Super’

Title: Supergirl Being Super #4 Writer: Mariko Tamaki Artist: Joelle Jones...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Ay Caramba!Penny Skateboards Join Up with The Simpson’s

After 30 years, 618 episodes (and counting), 32 Emmy Awards, and...

Sensei 310
SteelSeries Sensei 310 and Rival 310 Gaming Mice

SteelSeries Unveils the First, True 1-to-1 Esports Gaming Mouse Sensor Exclusively...

Alter Ego Release Groot and Deadpool for SDCC

From Alter Ego – Cary, NC: Florida based lifestyle accessories company,...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Mayweather and McGregor Previous Fights Now On Demand on Cable, Plus Interviews, Workouts and More

From iN DEMAND – New York, Aug. 17 – Before the...

Rumble on the Water 2 Delivers Punching Power

July 29, 2017 – Long Beach, CA – The Queen Mary...

UFC Star Jon ‘Bones’ Jones Releases Emoji App – BonesMoji

From BonesMoji – Los Angeles, CA., July 27, 2017 – One...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
CULTURAL JUNK DRAWER SDCC 2017 86.3% TRUE RECAP!

A totally true recap of the most important geek cultural even...

Comics on the Can: Schick Hydrobot and the Transformers

Written by John Barber, Pencils by Steve Kurth, Inks by Juan...

Star Wars Themed Lands Will be the Perfect Safe House for the Rebellion and the First Order

Disney’s D23 Expo has revealed a lot of what is to...

Event News Event Reviews
The Third Annual ‘BeerX’ from 91X in San Diego Featured Sunburns and Beer Goggles

This past Saturday, I attended the 3rd annual BeerX, presented by...

anime film festival
LA-Anime Film Festival Kicks Off to Celebrate 100 Years of Anime Films

Los Angeles Anime Film Festival (LA-AFF), presented by international creative company...

stan lee
Extraordinary: Stan Lee at The Saban Theatre

Comedian, Nerdist CEO, and podcast extraordinaire Chris Hardwick will lead a roster of...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming.

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Lahna Turner’s ‘Limeade’ is a Hilariously Haunting Comedy Album

Many people are roll their eyes at the idea of musical...

Prince’s ‘Deliverance’ Reminds Us of Who We Lost

On Friday, April 21st, it will be one year since we...

Sabroso Fest, How can you go Wrong with Beer, Tacos and Lucha Libre!?!(Photo Gallery)

The Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival sponsored by 95.5...