Hidden Figures (2016)
20th Century Fox
Directed by: Theodore Melfi
Produced by: Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams, Theodore Melfi
Screenplay by: Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi
Based on: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons
I think we can start off with the wonderful performances starting with Taraji P. Henson. She perfectly captures the incredible juggling act that African American single mothers have to endure to this very day. Most times, she doesn’t even have to speak for you to feel the tension she experiences between raising her children, going to work, and dealing with the common everyday racism during the 1960s. Octavia Spencer is her usual phenomenal self. Probably the biggest surprise is Janelle Monáe. She is humorous and holds her own as if she has been acting for years.
What I really appreciate about this film is that it treats the moments of racism with a nice sense of a balance. It isn’t overt, in-your-face racism, but it isn’t watered down either. The film constantly reminds us of the social tensions during this pre-civil rights era, without allowing the themes to be a crutch to evoke emotional responses. It also communicates the message that minorities’ many contributions to American history have often gone overlooked.
Moreover, Hidden Figures does a nice job of highlighting not only the racial barriers for minorities but also the gender barriers as well. Oftentimes, the film almost makes you feel the barrier that the characters feel—whether it is racial or gender based. One aspect that the film executes very well is the fact that minorities (especially the women) had to consistently go above and beyond to simply prove to society that they were worthy of anything at all.
The moment this film ended, the only thing that came to mind was that Hidden Figures has #BlackGirlMagic written all over it! This was an amazing film that I think many people, especially within the African American community, have been waiting for. Almost every year, if there’s a movie with a black leading cast it’s either a slave film, comedy, or some sort of sex drama. It is just so refreshing to have an uplifting and historically accurate film with a positive vibe to match. Not to mention, as a father of three daughters, I was so proud to have my little girls have ideal role models on the big screen to look up to. As you can tell, I really enjoyed Hidden Figures, and I think you will too. It’s more than worth the watch in theaters, and be sure to bring the family while you’re at it.