Genre: Historical Drama
Directors: Theodore Malfi
Running Time: 127 minutes
Main Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons
For a film with such heavy subject matter as the civil rights movement, Hidden Figures is a very levelheaded film that’s main focus is the issues of civil rights in 1960’s America.
Hidden Figures follows three extraordinary African American women mathematicians (wrap your head around that one) who are trying to make a name for themselves at NASA, as white superiors continuously oppress them. The film follows their struggle to make it in a field that is very unforgiving and teaches that no matter the colour or sexual orientation, you can make it in any industry.
The films cast features no real standout performances, where the norm is a lead character takes the spotlight from their supporting acts. Hidden Figures has 4-5 lead actors that propel the story forward at any given time. These lead actors are the three leading women in Taraji P. Henson (Katherine G. Johnson), Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan) and Janelle Monáe (Mary Jackson), as well as an understated Kevin Costner (Al Harrison).
Each has their time to have the spotlight, bringing many powerful and triumphant moments. Moments such as Henson (Johnson) with her chalk dropping equation solving, Spencer (Vaughan) with her initiative to learn how to master the IBM computer, Monáe (Jackson) with her never say no attitude to become an aerospace engineer and Costner (Harrison) with his motivational speech about thinking beyond what is in front of you.
Director Theodore Melfi has also tapped into this type of thinking, altering the way viewers interpret his film. He has crafted a film that focuses on a number of key themes, which are combined together to share the limelight of the film. Each one of these themes correlates with the past and the present, with the main present theme being oppression of both women and African Americans. The films theme of oppression being overcome relates to the time period it is set in, as the African Americans overcame their oppression to become a part of society and it reflects the state of modern society and the attitude towards women, The treatment of African Americans in the film is a mirror of what women are experiencing even today. The focus of Hidden Figures is not only on the struggle for civil rights it focuses on acting as a film that says no to oppression and reminds us of our challenge to make everyone equal, and it doesn’t ever shy away from that. The film through Costner’s line “you have to think beyond what’s in front of you”, to which it means we should think laterally in terms of women’s equality in the modern society.
Technically I can find no faults with this film, nothing is a standout in the production department. It shows how levelheaded this film really is, focusing on delivering its main message without too much flair. Everything in this film just seems to fit into place. Whether it be the script and screenplay or the funky score of Benjamin Wallfisch, Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer or even the period appropriate set design and costume. It all seems perfectly in place. There is nothing bad that I can pick about this film apart from its run time, which drags on during the middle stages of the film, when the crisis of act 2 begins to heat up.
Hidden Figures is overall a very switched on film. Its aware of its past and present and the time period for which it is set. Everything is in focus and the only thing to shine is the theme of oppression, both of African Americans in the 60’s to women of today. Its cast helps to drive this home with their acting. The film is wonderfully structured, the themes are powerful, hell it’s a powerfully wonderful film.
The Front Row Opinion