Starring: Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali (Rated PG – 127 min).
Historical significance of this true story is beyond measure and a magnificent tale that remarkably has not been celebrated as much as it should have. But don’t worry, this is anything but a lecture of bygone times.
Nominated for three Academy Awards including a coveted Best Picture nod, word has spread fast of the fascinating importance of this uplifting movie – it affects all who see it. You could say it’s orbital.
Three crackerjack mathematicians, despite proven abilities, were still met with despair, bias and unfair treatment constantly having trouble being granted permission to do anything individually due to the colour of their skin.
Dorothy (Octavia Spencer), Katherine (Taraji P. Henson), and Mary (Janelle Monae) are the African-American expert number cruncher trio that served a vital role in the N.A.S.A space-race within an aeronautical lab overseen by gruff decision maker Al Harrison (Kevin Costner).
It if wasn’t hard enough for these girls to be accepted into the board rooms to work on flight trajectories, they face an additional range of human rights issues that for the 1960s were unfortunately common. However Big Al is a sophisticated boss who gets upset at their treatment breaking down barriers of his own establishment.
Cold War situations bubbling on the agenda didn’t help tensions among certain N.A.S.A affiliates but the engineering math prodigies did not let anyone down no matter the diversity, obstacles or circumstances.
The wealth of acting talent on show here is strong female empowerment quality at its absolute best – especially the three equal leads. All stand out, all are perfect, all convince wholeheartedly.
Other fine performances include one of the absolute greats in my eyes Kevin Costner as their voice of reason boss. While best known for comedy Big Bang Theory, Jim Parsons shows a strong dramatic edge and Kirsten Dunst backs up her return to form and Emmy nomination for television series Fargo. They, along with everyone involved, contribute to a masterful adaptation of the book by Margot Lee Shetterly.
Uplifting is one of many adjectives one could use for Hidden Figures, triumphant and enthralling are two more. The audience in my screening audibly cheered as the end credits rolled.
Shane A. Bassett
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