Historical movies are always a tricky bunch. There’s the delicate balance of spending time on the actual story you want to tell against having so many facts that your story is convoluted with information not necessarily relevant to the story at hand. What’s important to the plot versus what’s just another fact from that time period? It takes careful planning and a clear vision for what you want your film to say. So let’s dive in and take a look at “Hidden Figures” in this box office review…
The story is based on the contributions of different ethnicities and the impact they had on space travel for NASA in the 1960’s. The main plot lines revolve around 3 African -American women who each had unique roles in the space program. I write unique because their skill sets are different and so that makes for more involved story telling, which I enjoyed. We meet Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) who is heading up the space program and is charge of all staff, no matter their country of origin or color. I felt like Costner was only giving 80% but his 80% is still great and leaps above other’s 110%’s. The three leads were Katherine Johnson (Taraji Henson) who is a brilliant mathematician who is also super human in her ability to calculate equations and problem solve. Dorothy Vaugh (Octavia Spencer) was the classic overworked, under paid and appreciated work horse. Her character aspired to be in lower management and her character worked diligently toward that goal the entire film. Mary Jackson (Janelle Mona’e) plays the sassy and fiery engineer who helps with the development and construction of the space shuttle. Finally, Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parson round out the cast along with Mahershala Ali. I can’t say one negative thing about the cast. They all were entertaining and fortunately Parson’s didn’t feel like “Dr. Sheldon Cooper” from the hit show on CBS “Big Bang Theory.”
The film as a whole was mediocre at best. It had moments that really hit home and showed the struggle of not just black women in NASA during the 1960’s but space travel, the Russian/American space race and Sputnik. This film attempted to tackle a lot and did well enough. For me, the film felt like it was pulling back and playing it safe when it comes to the real issues of the time. I’m not certain how they could’ve gone deep into the struggles to show racism, to show paranoia, to show more drama for space exploration. I just know that what I saw was maybe 70-75% of what life probably was like for everyone involved in this particular story. While speaking with one of the employees at the theater I frequent I told her this film felt almost like it belonged on the Lifetime network.
“Hidden Figures” is in theaters now! Despite the mediocre delivery of this film I recommend you support this film and the real life story by seeing it on the big screen. The actual story is too important not to see on the big screen and it’s entertaining. The film doesn’t drag. It doesn’t place awkward jokes or weird timing for humor. It’s a decent movie overall but the real life story is great and worthy of your financial support. It’s even a good date movie in case you wanna impress a lady with a film that isn’t about super hero’s, dick jokes or gangsters. Show some class and take your ass to the theater for “Hidden Figures.”