Hidden Figures (2016)

2017 #170
Theodore Melfi | 127 mins | download (HD) | 2.39:1 | USA / English | PG / PG

Hidden Figures

Based on a true story, Hidden Figures is about three black women working at NASA in the early ’60s, a time when segregation was still in force in the US.

It’s a double whammy of timely issues, then: they struggle to prove they’re clever and have scientific know-how because they’re women, and they struggle to prove they’re worth treating with respect because they’re black. How depressing that these things are still relevant over 50 years later. That said, any right-minded person watching it will still be suitably appalled that this kind of thing went on at all — even when you know about it, seeing it played out is something else.

Of course, it comes with a positive message attached: these people overcome their societally-imposed disadvantages to be awesome nonetheless, fighting everyday sexism and racism left, right and centre to eventually prove their worth. Hurrah! It’s a strong message, even more powerful thanks to it being a true story, and no doubt goes a long way to explaining the film’s success. As a movie in its own right, it’s nothing particularly special. There are good performances from a high-calibre cast, but everything else is pretty standard for a biopic — well done, but there’s a reason the film’s Oscar nominations were for acting and screenwriting.

4 out of 5

Hidden Figures is available on Sky Cinema from today.

4 thoughts on “Hidden Figures (2016)

  1. Fair comment, it seemed to be nominated more for its issues than for its merits as a piece of work, and what I took away from it most of all was the sheer mathematical logistics involved in sending men into space. I didn’t realise – naively of course – that it was quite as difficult as suggested in the film.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think all the issues with physically firing something out of the atmosphere, etc, feel obvious, but the amount of stuff they had to figure out to get them in orbit, bring them back down, etc, etc, is all kind of hidden. And that they worked it all out basically in their heads, without a computer… it’s an incredible achievement by any measure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Have this on my watchlist, anything to do with Apollo is right up my street. I’m just surprised so few films have been made about the sixties space program in general. It seems so rich with material.

    The HBO series From the Earth to the Moon was pretty definitive, mind, and that’s largely forgotten now. So maybe the general public are -incredibly- not particularly interested.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s sad how little space travel seems to interest people anymore. Maybe if any of those missions to Mars actually begin to concrete shape, then it’ll happen…

      This one’s more focused on the women’s experience than the program itself, though obviously that plays a pretty significant part.


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