Review: Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures

Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Duration: 127 Minutes
Language: English
India Release Date: 17-FEB-2017
Pick-D-Flick Rating: 3.5 on 5 (Amusing, Entertaining and Satisfying Delight)

As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Based on the unbelievably true life stories of three of these women, known as “human computers”, we follow these women as they quickly rose the ranks of NASA alongside many of history’s greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and guaranteeing his safe return. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.

Overall Review:
Hidden Figures is an adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s book of the same name and follows three black women who worked in NASA’s computer section in 1961. Film is all about how these three women make progress in their attempts to reach their goals and fulfill their potential with much difficulty, based on their gender and their race. The story is touching, and it might spark a love for mathematics in you. We have seen hollywood films where heroes fights against segregation, some sapce race movies but Hidden Figures represent USA at its finest and most appaling. Perfect Combo! ‘Hidden Figures’ is a feel-good tribute; a story that was meant to be told. It also shows that intelligence connects beyond gender and race. While film is likable and illuminating, it is, nevertheless, routine and predictable. The only negative: Film does very little to give any development to these women and keeps drowning us in the notion that “this is girl power” otherwise it is a delightful film to watch with a story that captivates its audience through an array of emotions. All the three leading ladies provide stellar performances which drive this film to greatness. An important message that films gives out at the end: “If there is something you want to do that seems impossible because nobody else is doing it, go and do it – you’ll be remembered and feel proud because you did that, YOU WERE FIRST”. Hidden Figures is well made film with a Historical Significance. This affecting story of reclaimed history is something to enjoy and celebrate with family members of all generations.

Performance & Technical Review:
The real hero of this film, however, is the lead performance given by Henson as Katherine Johnson, “The Computer”. Her portrayal of Johnson showed her as charming and frustrated and strong and impotent and smart and unsure – most of it at the same time.The supporting cast is solid but nowhere near as strong. Out of them, it is perhaps Kevin Costner as Space Task Group head Al Harrison (a character inspired by the real life Robert Gilruth) who stands out the best as an authoritative but sympathetic boss. Outside of its leading trio, the film has strong production values. The film does an excellent job of taking the viewer back to the early part of the 1960s, a time of both optimism and yet still rooted firmly in the past. This is something the filmmakers work to their advantage with the costumes and sets especially feeling straight out of the period. The film makes strong use of archival footage over CGI effects to bring the actual missions to life though the mixture of the two together is well done so that it takes being familiar with the actual footage to spot the difference. The music score, despite coming from three quite different composers, suits the film well ranging from simple but highly effective orchestral pieces from Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch to songs by Pharrell Williams. Combined with the direction of Theodore Melfi, the film becomes a strong mix of elements that take the viewer into the period while also telling an engaging story.

PDF Verdict:
‘Hidden Figure’ is Charming, Heartwarming and Inspirational tale that skillfully combines light-hearted comedy with racially-charged drama. One more take away from the film: “If you put your mind to it, things can be accomplished no matter how many would say otherwise”.

Pick-D-Flick Rating: 3.5 on 5 (Amusing, Entertaining and Satisfying Delight)
Performance: 4.5 on 5
Script: 3.5 on 5
Music / Background Score: 3.5 on 5
Production Designs: 4 on 5

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