‘Hidden Figures’ teaches important lesson

The figures involved with NASA in 1961 may have been hidden at the time, but they certainly are not anymore.

Fox 2000’s latest picture details the incredible true story of three scientists, Katherine Goble, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, and the obstacles facing them as African-American Women in Hampton, Virginia.


Directed by Theodore Melfi, “Hidden Figures” boasts an all-star cast, headlined by Oscar-nominee Taraji P. Henson, Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, and supported by the likes of Kevin Cosner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali and Glen Powell. As if that were not enough, the film has already racked up several award nominations, including two Golden Globe nods.

Needless to say, the cast does an incredible job, and each and every one of them truly embodies the men and women they were tasked to portray. Of special note is Taraji P. Henson’s Katherine Goble, a character vastly different from Henson’s character on “Empire,” showing her elasticity and dedication to her craft. Surprisingly, Janelle Monáe transfers from music to film seamlessly, and after this film and her turn in “Moonlight,” do not be shocked to see her appear in more movies in the future. Both Jim Parsons and Glen Powell deviate from their wacky television roles to give heartfelt and historically accurate performances that sincerely round out the story as well.

Also interesting was the music behind the film. Pop and R&B artist Pharrell Williams penned several powerful songs that completely embrace the severity of the situations that the trio of scientific and civil rights pioneers face, while also highlighting the optimism, love and energy that they each pour into their lives in droves. Williams also teamed up with famed composer Hans Zimmer to score the film, which turned out nicely as well. Do not be surprised if Williams brings a few awards home for his work on this film.

The film is enjoyable from start to finish, and not just because of the cast and the music, but because of the writing as well. Humor in the movie is seamless and breezy, as is the chemistry between the three leading ladies. Possibly most importantly, the film does not have a single boring beat, despite focusing on intense sciences and mathematics.

The film has very few downfalls. The biggest being that all three women have such incredible stories that they could have benefited from their own films, making this film feel a bit stuffed. But besides that, the worst part is Kirsten Dunst’s awkward come-and-go accent.

Should you watch it?: Yes

Perhaps what was most beautiful about the film, however, is that its message of acceptance is just as strong today as it was in the 1960s. In 2017, it can be easy to write off eras of overt discrimination as merely being in the past, but this film reminds us that it is not just in the past. Except for some small details such as women of color being forced to use separate bathrooms, the movie could have easily taken place in modern day. The trio of women face scrutinizing assumptions and a lack of attention and gratitude for the work they do, which is still an issue that we face today, and “Hidden Figures” is a delicate but commanding reminder not to underestimate anyone, especially not based on their skin color or gender.