Hidden Figures: An Inspiring Tale of Three Unsung Heroes
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Stories of inspiring personalities have the power to instill faith in the possibility of realizing dreams that are larger than life. When a story is based on real people who have created history, the impact made is ten times as strong. Hidden Figures is such a film; based on three incredibly brilliant NASA scientists – Katherine Jackson (Taraji P Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monay), the film revolves around their contributions to NASA and how they were instrumental in sending America’s first astronaut, John Glenn, into the Earth’s orbit in 1962.
While the outcome of the plot is predictable, it takes nothing away from the mettle of Theodore Melfi who intricately constructs an emotional screenplay with powerful characters whose subtle acts of heroism makes you want to give them a standing ovation. The film has strong, sharp and awe-inspiring dialogues. When Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder introduce tiny and yet smart nuances into the dialogues, the impact they have on the audience is immeasurable.
Melfi also makes it a point to avoid exaggerating and making melodramatic the racism in the film. He presents the situation just as it was fifty years ago. He lets the characters and their performances convey the struggle of colored women striving to shine in the early 1960s. From having to use separate toilets to pouring coffee from a flask labeled “for colored people,” the everyday struggles of these women was highlighted organically.
Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monay all deliver brilliant, hard-hitting and unforgettable performances. As the prodigal mathematician Katherine, Henson reminds us that nothing is impossible just as long as we keep trying. Her gracefulness and unfading optimism in the face of adversity is deeply moving.
At one point in the film, Kirsten Dunst slyly mentions that she has nothing against people of color; Octavia (Dorothy) responds with poise saying “I know you probably believe that.” As Mary, Janelle Monay’s head-strong determination is quite inspiring.
The rest of the cast including Jim Parsons, Glen Powell, Mahershala Ali, Kevin Costner and Kirsten Dunst, all of whom deliver stunning performances as well.
When every little technicality blends seamlessly in with the plot, you know that the technician is masterful. Be it Mandy Walker’s easy-on-the-eye cinematography or Peter Teschner’s rhythmic editing; the work compliments the pace of the film and the journey of the characters impeccably. Music by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, and Benjamin Wallfisch add another layer of emotion to the plot.
As an untold story of three heroes, Hidden Figures moves audiences with strong performances, emotional scenes, and a thought-provoking narrative. The film’s strength lies in its ability to blend realism with organically handled heroism.