Hidden Figures is a 2016 American biographical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi and written by Melfi and Allison Schroeder, based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly about female African-American mathematicians at NASA. The film stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson, a mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and other missions. The film also features Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson, with Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell and Mahershala Ali in supporting roles.
Principal photography began in March 2016 in Atlanta and was wrapped up in May 2016. Hidden Figures was released on December 25, 2016, by 20th Century Fox, received positive reviews from critics and has grossed $169 million worldwide. It was chosen by National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2016 and has been nominated for numerous awards, including three Oscars, for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress for Spencer, and two Golden Globes, Best Supporting Actress (Spencer) and Best Original Score. It won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
This is very much a crowdpleaser movie on the levels of The Help and The Blind Side and while I don’t think this fits the level of The Help, this movie definitely is better than The Blind Side, I really, really loved this movie.
There was so much about this movie that I admired and it also showcases yet another impressive directorial effort from Ted Melfi, whose last movie, St. Vincent, made my top 10 list for 2014.
The pairing of Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae is great, their chemistry together is phenomenal and it also helps that they have their own acting pedigrees that they can stand out on their own, Henson, as I stated in the past, is always going to be great to watch on screen because you know she will commit to a great performance and she does it again here as Katherine Johnson, it’s a shame that she didn’t get an Oscar nomination for this role because I thought she deserved it, Octavia Spencer gives another really good performance as Dorothy Vaughan, and Janelle Monae, who plays Mary Jackson, has a really good leading film debut as an actress in this after spending so many years as a singer.
The rest of the cast works pretty good here too, Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons, Kirsten Dunst, Mahershala Ali from Moonlight, the acting in this is really solid.
The movie also does a good job capturing the 1960s very well, from the costume designs to the way the buildings look, they do a phenomenal job of capturing 1960s Langley, Virginia and again, the set design and the costumes should’ve gotten some Oscar recognition too.
The music is really good too, the soundtrack by Pharrell Williams is really good, and the score by Hans Zimmer is nicely done.
Does the movie have some problems? It does, some of the acting, as good as it can be, does not work well, specifically the actor playing John Glenn, Glen Powell, I thought he was overacting the role a bit and he wasn’t really given that much to do, just to be supportive and have one note to his personality. He just didn’t seem to really do that much and for somebody who’s suppose to play an important figure in this like John Glenn, you would think the script would give him more to do.
On top of that, there are those typical cliché biopic moments that they have to have to improvise the dramatic effect but that’s expected, I’m not going to throw too much shade into that element, it’s just kind of a nitpick.
Overall, I really love Hidden Figures, the acting by the three main actresses works really well, the story, while predictable and cliché sometimes, is an interesting story in our history, the film looks impressive, the music is nicely done, it is a really solid and enjoyable movie and it’s well worth the watch.
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