HIDDEN FIGURES

Girl power, talented diversity, sharp yet non-opinionated script and Sheldon Cooper admitting to being wrong. It’s no wonder that this Theodore Melfi-directed feature has taken audiences by storm, opening in a year where no times hearing “the future is female” will ever be enough.

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African American female NASA staff, led by supervisor Dorothy Vaughan, protest their inequal working conditions

Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly about African-American female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race, Hidden Figures tells the story of three groundbreaking unsung heroes who got the man on space and unknowingly changed the game for upcoming female scientists. Oscar-nominee Henson plays Katherine Globe Johnson, a strong-willed physycian and mathematician who participated in the Project Mercury, Apollo 11, Space Shuttle program and counts four Honorary Doctorates besides the Presidential Medal of Freedom among her many accolades. The always-brilliant Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer portrays the late Dorothy Vaughan, a demanding yet good-natured mathematician who became the first African-American woman to supervise a staff at the West Area Computers center. Lastly, up-and-comer and six-time Grammy nominee Janelle Monáe (who this year also starred in Moonlight) plays the stubborn Mary Jackson, NASA’s first black female aerospace engineer. Co-starring are Kevin Costner, Kristen Dunst and Jim Parsons as the ladies’ superiors.

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The original Vaughn, Johnson and Jackson

On another vein, the photography is not surprisingly fantastic, with cenital and aerial shots that rightfully caught the eyes of critics. The costume and production design hit the nail on the head with a housewife touch reminiscent of The Help. The script, although vindicative, is as nuanced as it is avoiding of clichés and that’s perhaps the best of the film’s asset – women are awfully overdue pretty much everything (from independence in their households to equal treatment in the workplace.) And it shows, but at no point is the victim card’s played. 

The right choice of words plus the underlying intelligence and wit of the direction thus awakens relatability, empathy and mad respect. Diversity should always be celebrated, but conveying it this way beats pity and anger a hundred times in my view. The result is quite literally golden: three nominations for the Oscars (Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress for Spencer), two for the Golden Globes (Best Supporting Actress for Spencer and Best Original Score) and a SAG win for ensemble performance.

In essence, this standout production of fabulous performances, script, direction, photography and costume design is one to enjoy and think about often, for it epitomizes that we’re stronger together and that focusing on solutions instead of complaining is what gets the job done and makes magic happen.

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Hidden figures, no more!

Running time: 2h 7 minutes.

Country: United States.

Release date: September 6, 2016

Box office: $220.2M

Grade: A-

All images are taken from Google.

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