Originally Published on Salty Popcorn - You Can Find Several Other Reviews By Jack Dignan Here As Well
We’ve all heard stories about the space race. Some of us even lived through it. Russia and the U.S. were going head to head battling it out to be the first to put a man in space. What you probably haven’t heard of before, although definitely should have, is the story about the three women who made this race even remotely possible for the U.S.. In the early years of NASA, they struggled. They could achieve the basics, but nothing substantial enough to maintain an orbital flight around the Earth, much to the frustration of Al Harrison (Kevin Costner). To achieve the impossible, they send out a call to all employees, hoping to take on the brightest mathematician they can find. And they find one.
This is a film that couldn’t have arrived at a more critical time. It’s a film that transcends gender and nationality, showcasing the human spirit at its finest and most determined. Racism has always been a problem, remaining so to this day, so the fact that HIDDEN FIGURES actually happened and that these three women were able to achieve the unthinkable had me floored. Frequently throughout, I was struck with the need to burst into happy tears. I was uplifted, moved and encouraged, a bigger smile on my face than ever before. Adversity is tough to overcome, but these three women were able to do that and more. It’s immensely pleasing to watch, unable to put a bigger smile on my face even if it tried.
For a biopic such as this one, surprises are at a minimum. The journey these women go on is a delightful one, if not occasionally heart wrenching. Unfortunately, it’s made clear early on whereabouts this journey is going. The plot moves in a fairly conventional manner, beginning all the way back when Katherine was but a child, something not exactly necessary to the story but welcomed nonetheless. Even if you are to ignore the fact that the trailer gave away most of the major plot points, the film doesn’t do a great job at hiding what’s the come, yet at the same time, this isn’t that big of a problem.
Of it’s three recent Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, HIDDEN FIGURES received just one for acting, awarded to Octavia Spencer. I’m beyond happy that Spencer received a nomination, as she more than deserves it, even providing one of the biggest “fuck yeah” moments of the film. Her character’s ambitions are made clear, Spencer’s performance every bit as perfect as you’ve come to expect from an actress of her calibre. Several moments throughout had me in awe of just how good she was, providing a performance rich with diversity and layers.
It’s an international box office smash, a critical success, an awards contender and just a brilliant movie. It’s far from perfect, most movies are, but HIDDEN FIGURES is a film you not only should seek out, but one you almost have to. A joyful, emotional, compelling and hard hitting true story that deserves way more recognition than it got these last few decades.
You May Also Like: